Oil demand in the Middle East continued to grow strongly in September, with total demand in the five main countries in the region higher y/y by 0.215 mb/d, at 5.336 mb/d, and down slightly from the record highs in August. The region's demand remained robust over the summer months, averaging 5.369 mb/d from June until September. This represents growth of 6.3% when compared to the same period in 2011.
Saudi once again led the demand growth, with total oil consumption reaching 2.539 mb/d, the second highest level ever, and higher y/y by 0.15 mb/d (6.5%). Saudi demand was underpinned by strong growth in diesel (0.09 mb/d), while fuel oil demand normalised following very strong demand growth of 0.12 mb/d in August. Saudi crude burn remained at elevated levels in September (0.754 mb/d), due to its increased usage in power generation. Over the summer (Jun-Sep), Saudi crude burn has averaged 0.763 mb/d, higher y/y by 0.06 mb/d, despite the ramp up of Saudi Aramco's non-associated Karan gas field, which boosted gas production by 18% over the summer. UAE crude burn also increased this year, totalling 25 thousand b/d over June to September, compared to just 4.5 thousand b/d over the same period in 2011.
Demand in Kuwait was relatively weak, lower y/y by 17 thousand b/d (5%) whilst at 0.68 mb/d, Iraqi demand was at record highs, with y/y growth of 10%. In the year-to-September, the region's oil demand is running higher y/y by 0.24 mb/d (5%), with Saudi Arabia at an even stronger 6.3%.