OPEC Shipments to Decline Most in Six Months, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut oil shipments in October by the most in six months as refinery maintenance pushes Asian demand to a three-year seasonal low, according to Oil Movements.

OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s crude, will lower exports by 690,000 barrels a day, or 2.9 percent, to 23.45 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Nov. 2, the tanker tracker said today in a report. That compares with 24.14 million in the period to Oct. 5. Maintenance at oil terminals in Iraq also contributed to the decline, Oil Movements said. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“We’re moving into the depths of the maintenance season” for refineries, Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “The Chinese have backed out a bit” from the market as “stockpiles probably staged a recovery in the third quarter, so they’re not as desperate as they were earlier in the summer.”

Refinery processing rates typically decline at the end of the third quarter as plants perform maintenance before preparing to meet higher demand for heating fuel during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Brent crude was at $109.55 a barrel as of 3:58 p.m. today on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, after gaining 6.1 percent in the third quarter.

Middle Eastern shipments will fall 4.2 percent to 17.12 million barrels a day in the month to Nov. 2, versus 17.87 million in the previous period, according to Oil Movements. Those figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen. Shipments from the region to Asia will fall to 12.2 million barrels a day, the lowest for the time of year since 2010, Mason said by phone.

Crude on board tankers will decline by 3.2 percent to 466.26 million barrels on Nov. 2, 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. It will next meet in Vienna on Dec. 4.

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