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SEPTEMBER 2020

Russian and Syrian Companies to Explore for Oil and Gas in The Mediterranean: Syrian President Adviser

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Russian and Syrian Companies to Explore for Oil and Gas in The Mediterranean: Syrian President Adviser

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Syrian and Russian companies began joint work on oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad said.

“This is the first time I say this — Syria began joint work with Russian companies on oil and gas geological exploration in the Mediterranean Sea,” Shaaban said in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen.

According to her, the Syrian authorities have been preparing for this for several years.

Shaaban, who often speaks for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said there was no question in his mind that “our land should be totally and completely liberated from foreign occupiers, whether they are terrorists, or the Turks or the Americans.”

Bouthaina Shaaban said that US President Donald Trump is “talking about stealing [the oil]” when discussing plans to expand military operations in Syria and that the country “has absolutely no right; it is our oil.”

She also cautioned there could be “popular opposition and operations against the American occupiers of our oil.”

She further added that Syria was looking into ways to sue the US in an international court over “stealing” the country’s oil.

“Syria is looking into the possibility of filing an international lawsuit against the United States, due to the fact that they steal Syrian oil,” Shaaban said.

On December 18th, Syrian national news agency SANA reported that the Syrian People’s Assembly approved the conclusion of contracts for oil exploration with two Russian companies.

Syrian Oil and Resources Minister Ali Ghanem stated:

“Excavation contracts aim to increase production operations and introduce new areas into service and come within the government direction of friendly countries that stood alongside Syria, led by Russia and Iran, and they achieve the best commercial conditions compared to contracts concluded during the past years in technical and legal terms, stressing keenness in concluding any contract provided that the company is technically qualified and financially appropriate.”

The contract with Mercury LLC is for oil exploration, development and production in Block 7 and Block 19 in the country. The contract with Velada LLC is for Block 23.

The exploration, development and production would be quite expensive, more than $12 million, while one marine well would cost upwards of $100 million to explore, which is a steep cost, according to Ali Ghanem. The contracts, however, include a provision that 90% of the people that work on the projects must be Syrian.

It is unclear if this oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea involves the same Russian companies.

This news of oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea come shortly after Turkey announced signing a memorandum of understanding with the UN-assigned Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) for maritime borders and Ankara is likely to also carry out its own research in the surrounding region.

The news of the deal between the GNA and Turkey cased quite a stir. Greece said the maritime deal ignores the territorial waters around its islands of Rhodes and Crete, and is meant to block a gas pipeline to Europe the country plans to build with Cyprus, Egypt and Israel.

Russian and Syrian Companies to Explore for Oil and Gas in The Mediterranean: Syrian President Adviser

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