Syria's oil industry
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
- Oil and War in Iraq
- oil-for-food program
- regime change in Syria
- Russia's oil industry
- Syria Accountability Act of 2003
- Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003
- war on terrorism
- weapons of mass destruction
- Syria, U.S. Department of Energy: Data, Forecasts, and Country Analysis Brief and Other Analyses.
- "Economy of Syria" in the Wikipedia.
- 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
- Douglas Jehl, "Syria Sneaks Iraq's Oil Out as Old Foes Become Friends," New York Times (Global Policy), April 26, 1999.
- "Syrian oil minister: Syria's oil production continues until 2040," Arabic News, June 19, 1999.
- "Iraq confronts U.N. with oil sales to Syria," Reuters (CNN), November 21, 2000.
- Robin Wright, "Syria Has Opened a Pipeline for Iraqi Oil, Observers Say," Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2001. "Mideast: Smuggling may provide Baghdad with $2 million a day and be Bush administration's first foreign policy challenge."
- "U.S. probing reports of Syria importing Iraqi oil," Reuters (Gulf News), January 24, 2001.
- Alan Sipress, "U.S. Wants Iraq-to-Syria Oil Subject to U.N. Sanctions," Washington Post, January 24, 2001.
- Michael Evans, "Syrian pipeline helps Iraq evade UN oil sanctions," The Times (Free Republic), December 15, 2002.
- "Syria to make itself more attractive to foreign investment," Alexander's Gas & Oil, February 22, 2003.
- "Iraq halted oil supplies to Syria early on," Reuters (Houston Chronicle), March 31, 2003.
- "Syria cuts oil exports," BBC, April 11, 2003: "Traders in the London oil markets have reported a sudden big cut in crude oil deliveries from Syria which, they say, could prove the country has been illegally importing Iraqi oil."
- "U.S. Shuts Down Iraq-Syria Oil Pipeline," CBS News, April 15, 2003.
- "Oil Cutoff Likely to Hamper Syria's Economy, Government," Associated Press (Fox News), April 15, 2003.
- Hil Anderson, "Iraq, Syria had big plans for oil," UPI, April 15, 2003.
- Thanaa Imam, "Syria signs oil deal with U.S. firms," UPI, May 31, 2003.
- "Syria says mulling new Iraq crude oil pipeline," Syria Live.net, June 9, 2003.
- Hassan Hafidh, "Explosion Hits Iraq/Syria Oil Pipeline," Reuters (Iraq Foundation), June 23, 2003.
- Matt Giwer, "It is all about Israel's need for Oil," Giwer's World, August 2002; updated October 9, 2003.
- "Syria signs oil exploration deal with Petro-Canada," Forbes, November 13, 2003.
- "Syria, Iraq plan new oil pipeline," Syria Live.net, December 30, 2003.
- "Syria's gas production is on the rise," Alexander's Gas & Oil, April 27, 2004.
- Joe Duarte, "Syria's Quiet But Busy Oil Trade & Its Potential for Trouble," RIGZONE.com, July 28, 2004.
- "Iraq May Soon Reopen Oil Pipelines to Lebanon, Syria," naharnet, August 11, 2004.
- Ken Guggenheim, "Saddam's illicit trade was no secret to U.S. officials," Associated Press (Boston Globe), December 11, 2004.
- "Russia, Syria eye oil, gas development deals. Several significant projects discussed, including Syrian section of Pan-Arab pipeline," Agence France Presse (The Daily Star), January 27, 2005.
- "Former UN head deflects blame in oil scandal to Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran," Agence France Presse (TurkishPress.com), February 11, 2005.
- Beth Potter, "Syria company drilling Iraq oil wells," Washington Times, March 2, 2005.
- "Russia’s Tatneft to Start Oil Production in Syria," MosNews, March 21, 2005: "Russia’s Tatneft oil company has become the first Russian oil producer in past 15-20 years to operate in Syria."
- "Syria to build new refineries, increase oil production," Arabic News, July 21, 2005.
- "Syria plans to boost oil production," Mena Report, July 21, 2005.
- Nick Wadhams, "U.S. probes if Syria spent Iraq oil profit," Associated Press (Boston Globe), July 26, 2005.
- Benny Avni, "Congress Investigates Syria's Role In $3.8 Billion in Illegal Oil Sales," New York Sun, July 27, 2005.
- Niko Kyriakou, "U.S. lawmakers demand Syria to return oil money to Iraq," UPI (World Peace Herald), July 28, 2005.
- Mil Arcega, "Investigators Say Syria Profited Illegally from Iraqi Oil For Food Program," Voice of America, July 29, 2005.
- "Iran explores oil for Syria and Iraq," IranMania, August 28, 2005.
- "Syria, Russia sign $2.7 b. deal for oil refinery," Associated Press (Jerusalem Post), December 27, 2005.