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...