Syria’s oil and gas sector was a significant part of the government’s revenue before the uprising. It contributed around 35 percent of export earnings and 20 percent of revenue in 2010. The oil reserves were estimated to be about 2.50 billion barrels, mostly in Northeast Syria. However, crude oil production had declined to approximately 386,000 barrels per day (bopd) by 2010, making Syria a net importer of oil products.
After the uprising began in 2011 and sanctions were imposed, many international companies withdrew from Syria’s oil sector. Conflict-related fighting caused extensive damage and looting of oil infrastructure, costing the sector more than USD 13 billion by 2013. Current estimates suggest losses of nearly USD 110 billion, including infrastructure damage and revenue losses.
The government has been unable to exploit the oil fields under the control of the Kurdish-led authority in Northeast Syria, despite various deals with emergent warlords. As a result, Syria has become reliant on allies like Iran for its oil needs. However, even Iran’s assistance has been insufficient to alleviate shortages, leading to frequent power outages and a lack of heating and fuel for the population.
In this report, The Syria Report provides a comprehensive analysis of Syria’s oil sector. It covers the sector before the uprising, including oil resources, foreign company involvement, and production data. It also examines the impact of sanctions and Syria’s increased reliance on Iranian oil imports. The report discusses the forces controlling Syria’s oil fields since 2011 and the consequences of the conflict on the industry, such as diminishing subsidies and damages from war and sanctions. Lastly, it provides an overview of limited investments made in the sector since 2012.