The Middle East continued to boost oil production in 2015 despite a significant drop in crude prices from a year earlier, according to UK-based BP’s annual energy review.

Regional output increased by 5.4 per cent – the fastest of any region – driven by significant increases by Opec producers Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran.

The region produced an average of 30.1 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil, including crude and natural gas liquids (NGLs), compared with 28.6 million b/d in 2014.

All regions increased oil production in 2015, with North American production also growing rapidly by 4.7 per cent, driven by the US.

Oil production increased worldwide despite a significant slide in prices. Brent crude averaged $52.39 a barrel in 2015 compared with almost $100 a barrel in 2014, as oversupply weighed on the market.

The biggest increase in the Middle East came from Iraq, which boosted production by 22.9 per cent to 4.03 million b/d, overtaking Iran and the UAE to become the region’s second-largest producer.

Saudi Arabia’s crude and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production climbed by 4.6 per cent to 12.01 million b/d, making it the second-largest producer in the world after the US. Iran boosted crude production by 4.5 per cent to 3.92 million b/d, while the UAE’s output increased by 5.3 per cent to 3.9 million b/d.

Elsewhere, Kuwait saw a moderate drop of 1.1 per cent to 3.01 million b/d, while Qatar was down 0.4 per cent to 1.9 million b/d.

Oil consumption grew by a more modest 2.1 per cent to 9.57 million b/d, leaving with the region with higher export volumes.

All countries in the Middle East increased gas production in 2015, with the exception of Kuwait and war-torn Syria and Yemen. Gas output rose by 3.1 per cent in the region as a whole to 59.8 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d).

The region’s major gas producers all saw significant increases in production. Iran output was up 5.7 per cent to 18.6 billion cf/d, while Qatar boosted production by 4.2 per cent to 17.6 billion cf/d. Saudi output rose 4 per cent to 10.3 billion cf/d, in line with increased consumption.

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