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OPEC Exports to Recover Slowly Before Winter, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will increase crude exports through the end of this month as shipments from Saudi Arabia and Iraq recover before the northern hemisphere’s winter season, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will increase sailings by 350,000 barrels a day, or 1.5 percent, to 23.92 million barrels in the four weeks to Nov. 23, the researcher said today in a report. That compares with 23.57 million in the period to Oct. 26. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“It’s the beginning of the winter season, so it’s a seasonal trend, upward trend, which will continue for the next month-and-a-half,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “Also more refiners are coming out of maintenance” so refinery capacity should increase to reach a peak sometime in December, he said.

The gain in exports is relatively slow, starting from a low base after a drop in production during September, Mason said. “Saudi and Iraqi sailings, although they’re going up, are still below a year ago,” he said. Brent crude traded at $103.79 a barrel as of 4:17 p.m. on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, after earlier trading at $103.52, the lowest in more than four months.

Middle Eastern shipments will rise 2.5 percent to 17.66 million barrels a day in the month to Nov. 23, versus 17.23 million in the previous period, according to Oil Movements. Those figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will decline by about 8 percent from four weeks prior to 453 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 23, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates volumes by tallying tanker bookings and excludes crude held on vessels for storage.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. It will next meet in Vienna on Dec. 4.

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