OPEC to Boost Shipments on Western Demand, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise shipments this month in anticipation of a rebound in demand as refiners in the U.S. and Europe finish maintenance, according to Oil Movements.

The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will bolster crude shipments by 420,000 barrels a day, or 1.8 percent, to 23.83 million barrels a day in the four weeks to March 23, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador. Most of the increase is coming from OPEC’s largest member, Saudi Arabia.

“The maintenance season will be coming to an end and long-haul crude setting off will meet the upturn when refinery runs start to move up again,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “This month it’s going west.”

Middle East shipments will increase by 2.1 percent to 17.48 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.12 million in the four weeks to Feb. 23, according to Oil Movements. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will average 471 million barrels, up 3.2 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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