The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut crude shipments this month by 1 percent as demand tapers off after peaking for the northern hemisphere winter, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.
The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will export 24.02 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Jan. 19, down 250,000 barrels from the previous period, the researcher said in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador.
“The mid-winter trough is the end of the season for long- haul crude coming into the Atlantic basin,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder Mason said by phone from Halifax, England. The reduction may also signal that Saudi Arabia is trimming production to balance global supply and demand, he said.
Brent crude traded at about $112 a barrel in London today, having gained 3.5 percent last year in its weakest performance since 2008. OPEC is pumping about 1.4 million barrels a day more than its official target of 30 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Middle East shipments will slide 1.3 percent to 17.68 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.91 million in the four weeks to Dec. 22, according to the report. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.
“There is less west-bound oil,” Mason said. “If you’re going to control the market, the west is the major lever. So the Saudis may already be moving to control the market.”
Crude on board tankers will average 472.74 million barrels, down 3.6 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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