OPEC Exports to Slide From 7 1/2 Year High, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is poised to cut crude shipments from the highest in almost 7 1/2 years as refinery maintenance programs curb demand, Oil Movements said.

The group’s shipments in the four weeks to March 8 will decrease to 24.06 million barrels a day, from 24.74 million barrels a day in the same period to March 1, the Halifax, England-based firm said in an e-mailed note. Cargoes are still up compared with the four weeks to Feb. 8, when they averaged 23.84 million barrels a day.

“We will certainly decline from here onwards, up to some time in April” because of refinery maintenance, Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said by phone. “Clearly demand for crude is very strong at this point.”

Oil Movements’ figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador. The revised figure of 24.74 for the four weeks to March 1 was the highest since October 2006, Oil Movements data show.

Middle Eastern exports will average 17.6 million barrels a day in the month to March 8, compared with 17.35 million barrels a day in the period to Feb. 8, Oil Movements said. These figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

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