Oil & Gas

Syrian and Russian officials recently discussed joint energy projects at two events in Moscow and Damascus. Though little new information was revealed about the status of these projects, both officials acknowledged that they face difficulties.
Syria’s oil and gas sector has suffered indirect and direct losses totalling USD 107.10 billion from the start of the uprising in 2011 until mid-2022, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Petroleum provided a breakdown of oil and gas production during the first half of the year
The government has recently launched the first phase of a country-wide GPS scheme that requires vehicle owners to install GPS devices or face exemption from the state’s oil subsidy programme. The controversial GPS surveillance system would enable the government to calculate the oil product needs of vehicle owners and surveil ordinary Syrians.
Although Iranian oil supplies to Syria have remained stable and a new Iranian credit line was activated in May, prices have not been curbed. The government recently increased the price of petrol by up to 127 percent, which has immediately impacted the cost of transportation and food.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has inaugurated a gas field in Homs with an estimated reserve of 9 billion cubic meters of gas – the first field to be inaugurated since 2009. So far, the government has begun extracting gas from one well in the field but plans to put two others into operation by the end of the year.
The government has increased unsubsidised oil prices, attributing the hike to “rising global oil prices” and to its effort “to narrow the wide gap with black market prices.” Damascus has also announced a new Iranian credit line for the purchase of oil supplies from Tehran.
The following is an interview conducted by The Syria Report with John Bell, the managing director of Gulfsands Petroleum, a London-based oil and gas company that is the operator and joint-owner of Block 26 in northeast Syria. Among other things, this interview sheds light on sanctions, the potential production and revenues of Block 26, and illegal production by SDF and its affiliated oil companies. It also reveals how early recovery has become an increasingly prevalent framework through which companies and organisations re-frame their activities in Syria in an effort to be exempted from sanctions.
A Russian oil company, which has been linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, has recently opened an office in Damascus. The company has been embroiled in Lebanese-Syrian maritime disputes after the government granted it exclusive rights to explore and drill for oil and gas in a block in the Mediterranean sea that apparently overlaps with Lebanese maritime areas.
After over a month, the Kurdistan Regional Government has reopened both the Simalka-Peshabor border crossing, which represents the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria's main gateway for exports of Syrian crude and imports of humanitarian aid, and the informal Al-Walid border crossing, located 10 kilometres south of Simalka.
Iran’s crude oil exports to Syria have remained stable for the third quarter in a row, at around 6.9 million barrels for the last three months of 2021. On a year-on-year basis, 2021 witnessed a 42.2 percent surge in Iranian oil shipments to Syria.