Opec oil shipments up 700,000 bpd in May

LONDON - Crude oil shipments from all 11 Opec producers climbed over 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four-week period ending May 22 versus the previous month, a leading oil shipping analyst said yesterday.


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Published: Sat 15 May 2004, 9:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:26 PM

Roy Mason of consultancy oil movements said total Opec sailings or shipments, including regular contractual volumes and spot chartering, rose to 23.45 million bpd in the period to May 22, up from 22.76 million bpd in the four weeks ending April 24, he said.

In last week's report up to May 15, Mason said Opec sailings came to 22.94 million bpd.

"The main message here though is that the decrease in (Opec) production in April is going to be back again in May," said Mason.

The data reflect estimated exports based on vessel shipments and do not include domestic consumption. Opec quotas are based on total production.

Total sailings from the Middle East rose to 17.08 million bpd in the four weeks to May 22, up from 16.52 million bpd the previous month, the report said. In the four weeks ending May 15, shipments had totalled 16.7 million bpd.

"The trend shows sailings are clearly up and rising," Mason said. Middle East sailings to Asia rose to 11.78 million bpd, while westbound sailings at less than half of Asia's volume also rose to 5.3 million bpd.

"Sailings show that all the extra Middle Eastern, and therefore Opec oil, is going east because the Saudi's promised to do that," Mason said referring to pledges made to customers in Asia.

He said spot chartering, or forward bookings minus regular contractual deliveries, fell in May relative to April and the chartering peak in March as expected because of the seasonally quieter second quarter.

His figures showed forward spot chartering from the Middle East fell to 7.89 million barrels for the month of May down from 8.44 million barrels in April and the peak of 9.22 million bpd in March.

US oil prices vaulted to an all-time high on Friday on fears that disruption to Middle East oil flows may stress world fuel supplies already eroded by strong demand growth in China and the United States.

Saudi Arabia's attempt to cool prices by proposing an increase in Opec's current 23.5 million bpd output ceiling has yet to have any impact. Riyadh has already signed off on more supplies to US and European customers in June.

Total Opec production fell 360,000 bpd in April to 28.06 million bpd, according to a Reuters survey, while output excluding Iraq fell by the same amount to 25.75 million bpd.

Oil market sources estimate that Opec exports will climb 240,000 bpd in May and could rise another 500,000 to one million bpd in June.

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