Friday, April 22, 2011

OPEC Exports Decline as Seasonal Demand Dips, Oil Movements Says

By Grant Smith

Business ExchangeBuzz up!DiggPrint Email .The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce exports by 1.4 percent in the four weeks to May 7 in line with a seasonal lull in consumption, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

OPEC, responsible for 40 percent of global supplies, will ship 22.67 million barrels a day in the four weeks to May 7, down from 23 million a day in the period to April 9, the consultant said today in a report. The decline is driven by Middle East members of the group, it said. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.

“We’re seeing the low point of the second quarter, of the spring refinery maintenance season and its effect on demand,” Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said in an interview from Halifax, England. “Nothing much is going to happen until the end of next month, when we’re starting to look at summer and demand for long-haul cargoes will rise.”

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said April 17 that the global “market is oversupplied” and that the kingdom cut supply by more than 800,000 barrels a day. Brent crude for June settlement traded at about $124 a barrel in London today, having reached a 2 1/2-year high of $127.02 a barrel on April 11.

Shipments from Middle Eastern producers, including those from non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen, will decrease to 17.42 million barrels a day in the four weeks to May 7, according to the report. That’s down from 17.76 million barrels in the previous period.

An average of 473.36 million barrels of crude will be on board tankers in the month to May 7, down 0.9 percent from 477.75 million in the four weeks to April 9, Oil Movements said.

Oil Movements calculates shipments by keeping a tally of tanker-rental agreements. Its figures exclude crude held on board ships used as floating storage.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is exempt from the quota system. The organization is next due to meet on June 8 in Vienna.

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