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OPEC Shipments Seen Stable as Demand Fades, Oil Movements Says

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep crude shipments stable through to early January as the first of two surges in winter fuel demand passes, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will boost sailings by 50,000 barrels a day, or 0.2 percent, to 23.98 million barrels in the four weeks to Jan. 4, the researcher said today in a report. That compares with 23.93 million in the period to Dec. 7. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“This is a slowing-down number,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “There are two winter surges, with one just before Christmas and that’s already happened. The second one is in February, that’s still coming up and in the meantime it’s quiet.”

Global oil demand typically climbs during the fourth quarter with rising consumption of heating fuels during the Northern Hemisphere winter. This peak is divided into two stages, with the first ending in late December as refiners reduce their intake of crude in preparation for maintenance work the following spring, according to Oil Movements. Brent futures have dropped about 0.9 percent this year, trading near $110 a barrel in London today.

Middle Eastern exports will decrease 0.3 percent to 17.52 million barrels a day in the month to Jan. 4, compared with 17.57 million in the previous period, according to Oil Movements. The figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will climb by 1.7 percent to 489.87 million barrels through Jan. 4 from 481.52 million in the previous period, 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. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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