OPEC Exports to Rise to Near 7 1/2-Year High, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will boost crude exports to near their highest level since 2006 as refiners replenish stockpiles, Oil Movements said.

OPEC, responsible for 40 percent of global oil supplies, will increase shipments by 430,000 barrels a day, or 1.8 percent, to 24.38 million barrels in the four weeks to March 15, the Halifax, England-based firm said in an e-mailed note. Shipments were estimated to have reached 24.74 million in the same period to March 1. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“A high proportion of the additional February barrels are moving east and a lot of it going to China,” Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said by phone. “We’re going into the year short of stockpiles” in developed nations also, after a “severe winter” in the U.S. drained inventories, he said.

China will retake the lead from the U.S. in oil demand growth this year as its manufacturing and transportation industries expand, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil inventories in advanced economies tumbled in the fourth quarter by the most since 1999 because of the “surprising robustness” of demand in the U.S. and other developed nations, the agency said on Feb. 13.

Middle Eastern exports will average 17.91 million barrels a day in the month to March 15, compared with 17.49 million in the period to Feb. 15, Oil Movements said. These figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will rise by 4.5 percent to 499.97 million barrels through March 15, from 478.57 million in the previous period, 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. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

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