Syria's oil industry

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Syria is "the only substantial oil producer ..., with crude oil production of 410,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2004, and total liquids production of 460,000 bbl/d. Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon all must import substantially all of their oil requirements."

"Syria's oil industry faces many challenges in the years to come. Oil output and production continues to decline due to technological problems and depletion of oil reserves. Since peaking at 590,000 bbl/d in 1996, Syria's oil output has fallen, to an estimated 460,000 bbl/d in 2004, as older fields, especially the large Jebisseh field discovered in 1968, have reached maturity. Syrian oil production is expected to continue its decline over the next several years, while consumption rises, leading to a reduction in Syrian net oil exports. If this trend continues, it is possible that Syria could become a net oil importer within a decade. Export levels, which had been temporarily buoyed by illegal imports from Iraq, fell sharply after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003."

"Syria has continued its pattern of economic growth only slightly higher than its population growth in recent years, despite some limited attempts to reform its economy. High prices for its modest quantities of oil exports have offset problems in other sectors of the country's economy in the short-term. Real GDP growth in 2004 was 3.4 percent, and growth is projected at 3.7 percent in 2005. The U.S. imposed additonal economic sanctions against Syria in May 2004, under the provisions of the Syria Accountability Act, though the economic effects have been modest, due to the small volume of U.S. trade and investment with Syria. U.S. energy companies operating in Syria were not forced to divest their investments in Syria. Syria ended its long military occupation of Lebanon in April 2005, under pressure from the international community to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559."

"Syria hopes to reverse the trend toward declining oil exports through intensified oil exploration and production efforts, plus a switch from oil-fired to natural-gas fired electric power plants. Syria also has opened up new blocks for oil and natural gas exploration, with the Oil and Mineral Resources Ministry receiving bids from several international companies in December 2001 on five exploration areas. Awards for these blocks were made in January 2003, with Shell Oil receiving exploration rights in the Damascus-Palmyra area and India's ONGC Videsh receiving another onshore block. Independents Ocean Energy and Stratic Energy also received awards. In 2003, three new exploration deals were announced, with companies receiving awards including Canada's Tanganyika and PetroCanada, China's CNPC, and Devon Energy and Gulfsands Petroleum of the United States. Another round of awards took place in January 2004, with companies involved including U.S. independent IPR Transoil, India's ONGC, and Croatia's INA Naftaplin. In May 2005, Gulfsands Petroleum purchased Devon Energy's 80 percent stake in Block 26, then sold a 50 percent stake in the project to Soyuzneftegaz of Russia. Gulfsands remains as operator of the project with a 50 percent ownership stake. INA Naftaplin reported a discovery of oil at the Jihar field in September 2004, which it expects to produce 5,000 bbl/d once it is developed.

"Syria's main oil producer is al-Furat Petroleum Co. (AFPC) a joint venture established in 1985 and owned by the Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC), Shell, and PetroCanada. AFPC's fields are located in the northeastern Syria -- particularly the Deir ez-Zour region, where commercial quantities of oil were discovered in the late 1980s -- and are producing about 350,000 bbl/d of high quality light crude."

"The pipeline between the Syrian port of Banias and the 'Strategic Pipeline' in Iraq, which connects its northern and southern oil infrastructure, has been inoperative since the war began in March 2003."

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, last modified August 9, 2005. Please note that this is government information and, therefore, copyright does not attach.

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links




  • Statement by Elizabeth L. Dibble, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Before the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the Role of Syria in the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program, 1st Session, 109th Congress, July 27, 2005: "to discuss the role of the Syrian government in the Oil-for-Food Program, U.S. efforts to ensure that frozen Iraqi assets in Syria are transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq, and broader U.S. efforts to recover Iraqi assets."

Articles & Commentary