OPEC to cut oil exports as consumption wanes, tanker expert predicts

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce shipments through to mid-September as refiners carry out seasonal maintenance, tanker-tracker Oil Movements said.

The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will cut exports by 220,000 barrels a day, or 0.9 percent, to about 23.59 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Sept. 14 from the period to Aug. 17, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“It’s more downward drift through the end of the summer,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. Unrest in Egypt, declining production in Libya and fighting in Syria haven’t affected the overall trend for OPEC shipments, he said.

Refiners typically trim imports at the start of the third quarter while performing maintenance as summer demand for gasoline and diesel fades. Brent crude traded today at about $115.80 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London after hitting a six-month high yesterday.

Middle Eastern shipments will drop by 1.3 percent to about 17.25 million barrels a day to Sept. 14, compared with 17.48 in the month to Aug. 17, according to Oil Movements. Those figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will decline 4.7 percent to 472.83 million barrels on Sept. 14, 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. It will next meet in Vienna on Dec. 4.