OPEC Supply Increase Slows as Demand Eases, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will curb its increase in shipments this month as Saudi Arabia reduced production and mild temperatures check demand, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will export 23.64 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 2, up 70,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, from the previous period, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador. Shipments were to gain 210,000 barrels a day in the four weeks to Jan. 26.

“The seasonal upturn in the new year has been extremely slow, non-existent,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “Demand is weak, the weather has been relatively mild, and the most surprising characteristic is that sailings to the Far East are limp.”

Temperatures in Frankfurt, Germany, Europe’s biggest market for heating oil, were above the five-year average for most of December and the first week of January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

OPEC production dropped to the lowest level in 14 months in December because of a 4 percent supply cut by Saudi Arabia, data from the group’s monthly report showed on Jan. 16. Brent crude traded today at about $110 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Middle East shipments will increase 0.6 percent to 17.35 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.25 million in the four weeks to Jan. 5, according to the report. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will average 471.3 million barrels, down 1.5 percent on the previous period, the data show. Oil Movements calculates the volumes by tallying tanker bookings. Its figures exclude crude held on vessels for storage.

OPEC comprises Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The organization is next scheduled to meet in May.

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