OPEC to Trim Supply Amid Saudi Output Cuts, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut crude shipments by 0.9 percent this month amid lower production by Saudi Arabia, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will export 23.51 million barrels a day in the four weeks to March 2, down 220,000 a day from 23.73 million in the previous period, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Those figures exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“It’s restraint on the supply side” rather than solely a seasonal drop in demand, Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. It’s too early for refineries to be curbing purchases ahead of seasonal maintenance, he said.

Saudi Arabia kept its output near a 20-month low of about 9 million barrels a day for a second month in January, a Gulf official with knowledge of the country’s oil policy said on Feb. 7. The official declined to be identified because supply policy is not made public.

Middle East shipments will decline by 1.2 percent to 17.17 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.38 million in the four weeks to Feb. 2, according to Oil Movements. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will average 459.15 million barrels, down 2.3 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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