Gulf Crude Burn: Saudi, Iraq Turn To Gas To Curb Sky High Crude Burn Rates

Riyadh and Baghdad policies to reduce direct crude burning in power plants are working, helped by increasing availability of both fuel oil and gas.

The world’s two biggest burners of crude oil in power plants, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, have both recorded substantial annual declines. Not just did Iraq post a four year low of 119,000 b/d crude burn over the course of 2017, but it claims to have eliminated it entirely for two of the months. Last year’s burn was down 30% from 2016’s peak of 169,000 b/d.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile posted an eight-year low of 436,000 b/d – still by far the world’s largest – down 20% from the peak of 572,000 b/d in 2015. The two countries’ cumulative burn in 2017 was 555,000 b/d and positive momentum in both, especially Iraq, ought to see this fall further in 2018. This will free up additional volumes of crude oil either for export, refining or simply to boost spare capacity.


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