OPEC to Keep Exports Stable as Demand Ebbs, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep shipments stable this month as winter demand in the northern hemisphere fades and refiners begin maintenance, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will export 23.68 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 23, little changed from 23.67 million in the previous period, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Those figures exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“The tanker market is completely dead,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. Shipments will probably decline over the next month, he added.

Saudi Arabia kept production near 9 million barrels for a second month, according to a Gulf official with knowledge of the country’s oil policy, helping to maintain OPEC output at close to the group’s ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.

Middle East shipments will also remain stable at 17.38 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.37 million in the four weeks to Jan. 26, according to Oil Movements. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will average 463.41 million barrels, down 2.5 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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