Direct Saudi imports of fuel oil from Russia surged to an all-time high last month as Riyadh capitalizes on changing global energy trade flows. Direct imports from Russia hit 91,000 b/d in September according to data intelligence firm Kpler, but in reality Saudi Arabia is importing well in excess of 100,000 b/d from Russia as these volumes are supplemented with barrels supplied via regional trading hubs.

Saudi Arabia uses fuel oil (alongside crude oil) to supplement natural gas to supply its power plants. The kingdom burns oil for power throughout the year, but consumption peaks in summer as high temperatures drive energy-intensive air conditioning use. With Russian fuel oil being pushed out of Europe and the US, Moscow is discounting its cargoes to find new homes for displaced volumes and Saudi Arabia and its fellow Gulf States are proving willing recipients. (CONTINUED - 627 WORDS)