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OPEC to boost supply for final winter demand

President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) conference. (AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN)

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will increase crude shipments this month to meet the final phase of peak winter demand in the northern hemisphere, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements.

The group that supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil will export 24.15 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Jan. 26, up 210,000 barrels, or 0.9 percent, from the previous period, the researcher said today in an emailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“Winter demand is still strong in the east, near the tail end but not quite there,” Roy Mason, the research company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “We’ve got another two or three weeks to go before we’re at the peak.”

Brent crude rose as high as $113.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London Friday, its strongest level in almost three months, amid signs of economic recovery and lower production by Saudi Arabia. The kingdom cut output by 465,000 barrels a day, or 4.9 percent, in December to 9.025 million, according to a Gulf official who declined to be identified.

“It’s probably the right time to put the brakes on,” Mason said. “Looking ahead, they must be able to see a price decline in the spring” because OPEC is currently supplying more than the market needs, he said.

Middle East shipments will increase 1.3 percent to 17.83 million barrels a day in the period, compared with 17.6 million in the four weeks to Dec. 29, according to the report. That figure includes non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will average 476.1 million barrels, down 2 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.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 12, 2013, on page 4.

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