(AGI) Bari, May 23 - The use of olive oil "is no longer confined to the Mediterranean basin", according to the head of Italy's National Oil Producers' Consortium (CNO). During a conference in Bari on Monday, Gennaro Sicolo stressed that "overall demand for olive oil has risen 1.8 times, while there has been a fall in demand from the leading production countries such as Italy and Spain. However, there has also been a strong increase in countries that are not traditional producers, whose impact on the overall consumption of olive oil has risen from 11 to 24 per cent. Currently, the U.S. is the third highest consumer country, with 300,000 tonnes. Consumption in Saudi Arabia has gone up 3.4 times over the last six years. Brazil and Japan have both doubled their consumption, over the last nine and seven years respectively. Moreover, the absolute volumes of demand for olive oil are all respectable: 70,000 tonnes in Brazil, 60,000 tonnes in Japan and 22,000 in Saudia Arabia." This demonstrates a "steady penetration of the olive oil culture at global level, in what could be described as relocation of consumption". Mr Sicolo added that "Italy is the leading end market for olive oil and, in particular, for every five litres of oil sold at global level, one is marketed in this country. Furthermore we are operating in the biggest and most receptive market in the world, one that is also willing to reward national production. And yet, 23 per cent of Italian exports of bottled olive oil is controlled by a Spanish multinational", not just "of the 13 member countries of the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) involved. They all have lower costs per kilogramme than Italy, apart from Uruguay". (AGI). .