After several years of steady growth driven by Iraq’s booming population, consumption of oil products took a massive hit in the first half of the year as the Covid-19 pandemic hit home.

Jodi data released this week indicates that H1 demand fell to just 529,000 b/d – down from 711,000 b/d in 2019 – bottoming out at a meager 416,000 b/d in Q2. This is barely above 2Q 2015’s 415,000 b/d, when the Islamic State insurgency was at its peak and the group had just captured vast swathes of the country and destroyed considerable refining capacity. To find similar figures one must go back to early 2009 when the country’s population was just 30 million (against 45 million at present). (CONTINUED - 729 WORDS)