Syria, Energy and Reconstruction


Syria, Energy and Reconstruction

Written by Borislav Boev; Originally appeared in Bulgarian at A-specto;

War in Syria has entered its 7th year. The economic losses are estimated to be 226$ billion. According to a World Bank report published in 2017, about 530, 000 jobs have been lost and the refugee wave exceeded 5 million people.

Petroleum industry has always been the backbone of Middle Eastern economies. The reason behind this fact is simple – the region is rich on oil and gas. Syria makes no exception. Although not a major oil exporter, the “black gold” plays an important role for the Syrian economy. In 2010, Syria’s petroleum industry generated 25% of state budget revenue. In the same year, Syria’s oil production was 385, 000 barrels per day. Natural gas output amounted to 5,3 billion cubic meters. Syrian energy stocks may not be relevant to global energy markets, but they’re vital for domestic economy.

Where are the big energy fields?

The biggest oil reserves are primarily located in the eastern part of the country. The largest oil field is Al-Omar, near the city of Deir Ez-Zor. The oil-rich region is located on the eastern bank of Euphrates river. Succeeding ISIL’s defeat in Eastern Syria, the Al-Omar oilfields fell under the control of SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces).

The other major fields such as Sweidiyeh oil field, are located in the northeastern part of the country, near the Iraqi border. They are also under the jurisdiction of Syrian Kurds, although the Syrian state still plays vital economic role in exploiting and maintaining the fields. There are also smaller oil reserves, predominantly in Central Syria.

Oil wells and their associated infrastructure, such as pipelines, pumping stations and processing plants, are objects of strategic importance and their significance is comparable to the military bases and other key installations of a similar type. Islamic State group has survived for years, thanks to the fact that at one point, they had controlled almost all energy fields in Syria. This allowed the group to generate huge revenue from illegal sales of oil and gas.

Although relatively poor on oil resources, Syria is rich on natural gas reserves. The largest gas fields are mainly located in the central and eastern parts of the country, one of them being positioned south of Raqqa, and the other around Palmyra. Pipelines are also a major element of the strategic energy infrastructure. The Arab Gas Pipeline, build in 2003, supplies natural gas from Egypt to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Its length is 1200 km, and the maximum capacity is estimated to be 10.3 billion cubic meters. Terror attacks on pipeline infrastructure have rendered it inoperable at some degree, so today the pipeline is not working at full capacity.

Kirkuk-Banias is another pipeline, which is currently out of commission. It was built in 1952 and transported crude oil from the Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the Syrian port of Banias. The total length is 800 km and its capacity is relatively small – 300 000 barrels per day. Since 2003, this pipeline is severely damaged and is currently out of work. However, the pumping stations and the Syrian route are being used as logistic hubs for processing and transporting gas. Pumping stations T2, T3 and T4 are handling gas supplies from Deir Ez-Zor to the Syrian port towns.

The Syrian state is directly involved in the management of many oil companies throughout the country. The Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC) owns 50% shares in many regional companies. This is also the case with the largest foreign consortium operating in Syria – Al-Furat, where SPC holds 50% of the company stake. The remaining 50% is divided between Royal Dutch Shell, China National Petroleum Corporation and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. Prior the civil war, SPC had a 55% share of total oil produced in Syria. In the summer of 2011 SPC was sanctioned by the United States.

Many western companies were further involved in different kinds of economic partnership with Syria.  A good example was the contract that had been signed back in 2008 between French’ Total and the Syrian Petroleum Company. The agreements, signed in September 2008 included investments in oil and gas fields in Deir Ez-Zor. Total has been operating in Syria since 1988. But in December 2011, only few months after the outbreak of the war, Total pulled out of the country.

Many gas fields and oil wells were returned back to government supervision following successful military operations conducted by the Syrian army and its allies. Facilities like Hayaan Gas Company and Tuweinan Gas Fields had been restored and put back into operation. These events would allow the Syrian government to put more focus on economic recovery and reconstruction. Of course Syria can’t cover all expenditures alone, so its main allies should come to play. Russia, Iran and China showed interest and are ready to invest in key sectors like energy, agriculture, military, telecommunications and industry.

Syria and Russia had already signed an agreement on energy cooperation at the beginning of February 2018. The road map includes deeper cooperation in number of key energy projects such as reconstruction of the damaged Aleppo Thermal Power Plant (which was rendered inoperable after being occupied by ISIS) and expanding the capacity other power plants throughout the country.

Iran is also involved in reconstruction projects. Iranian companies are set rebuild Syria’s damaged power grid, oil refineries and telecommunications systems. Those preparations are already being negotiated, as Iranian parliamentary delegation had visited Syria at the beginning of the year.

China wants a major role in rebuilding the Syrian economy as well. Beijing’s ambitious plans for establishing new trade route to Europe are known as the “One Belt-One Road” or the “New Silk Way”. This modern “Silk Road” intends to connect China, the Middle East and Europe, thus reshaping the economic cooperation between the continents. The New Silk Road passes directly through Syria. Chinese investors have already declared their intention to invest in post-war Syria. Big construction companies are getting ready to take part in the rebuilding process. Back in October 2017 the Chinese state-owned agency Xinhua confirmed that Chinese administration was considering participation in economic reconstruction of the war-torn country.

In modern economy, especially in the industrial sector, transfer of technology and knowledge is essential. Therefore, Syria will rely on foreign direct investment. This is a big responsibility for the Syrian government and politicians. Skilled economic diplomacy is a must for the Syrian state and would allow it to sign mutually beneficial contracts with foreign companies and investors. Regional and geopolitical interests further complicate the situation, but the responsibility of the Syrian government remains significant.



Do you like this content? Consider helping us!

  • Serious

    Isn’t that funny that ISIS followed the oil ???? XD.

    Of course, bye bye Omar field given to kurds whereas no kurds in south Syria !!!!!

    And Assad wants to save kurds from Turkey ??? XD.

    It’s a total joke. Instead, Assad should have join the battle against kurds and try to recover stolen lands.

    • jerry hamilton

      ISIS taking the oil was planned
      The pentagon needed the extra funds. This has been an expensive attempt to overthrow Assad.

      • Ronald

        According to the PM of Qatar, 137 billion from the US alone.

    • Joe Dokes

      Assad did try to recover stolen oil fields. Do you not remember what happened?

  • Serious

    People say that they will recover omar field. How will you do that ???? American and British oil and gaz company are ready to operate their and steal the oil and gaz of Syrians.

    I told you so many times. Americans and their israelis buddies are worst than Nazis.

    • sagbotgamot

      I think that’s why SU-57 jets have been seen recently is Syrian skies. Otherwise its just some air shows.

      • John Mason

        Syria also awarded Russia full control over all their oil and gas fields, SU57 and 35 will play a role as will the Kalibr missiles and S400. Even though Russia took out a few old planes last year and sent them home they are being replaced with newer and deadlier ones.

        • Redadmiral

          What a difference the S 400s would make to Syria if Russia would hand them over as the Yankees did with there over-rated Iron Dome to the Izzys. Syris would become a no fly zone for the forces of Zion.

          • John Mason

            Russia won’t give S400 to Syria or use it unless Russian interests are at stake. US and coalition are tempting Russia through aggression to use the S400 so that they can collect data on it.

          • You can call me Al

            You could be right there.

      • peter

        You read article Russian Ministry Sojgu ordered SU-57 to attack to position militants in Ghouta…result,10 us instructors was dead.What are they doing there?Another surces told,that this was revenge for killed Vagner troops…Putin says,that nobody will attacking to russian troops…

    • Xanatos

      American backed Kurdish occupied syria, let’s call this area rojava for now, is selling the oil there.

      They transport it north east to where Rojava border with Iraq meets Iraqi occupied Kurdistan, the northern edge of Iraq that Iraqi Kurds invaded outside their three autonomous provinces in Iraq. This northern strip connects Rojava to greater Kurdistan of Iraq and incidentally borders turkey.

      Iraqi Kurdistan has a deal to sell oil to turkey who exports it thru the ceyhan pipeline. Turkey says they want to invade Syria and Iraq to prevent Kurds on their border, but even if they did, Turks will still buy oil from Kurds that steal from Syria and Iraq.

      That’s Why western oil companies are investing in Omar oil fields. They Kurdish-Turkish export route is seen as a reliable long term path to market.

      • PZIVJ

        Let them invest in repairing the oil fields, I certainly hope so!
        It is not legal and will be returned to the Syrian govt in due time.

  • Serious

    There is no 1 error, 2 errors, 3 errors, … there are tons of errors. Impossible to win like that.

    Keep being nice with people worst than Nazis. If you loose everything, it’s normal.

  • Michał Hunicz

    Really disappointing article. I expected some in-depth analysis with explaining chances of changing Syrian domestic market dynamics or for example possibilities for Iranian/Chinese investments on each sector including the industry, infrastructure and so on.

    The 8th year of the war will be the last one. I hope.

    • Serious

      The modern “economy” is a big BS. Economic nobel prize is the joke of the century and even a poop is more useful than the economic nobel prize as the poop can be a fertilizer.

      Western countries have all large debt. USA is invading countries to steal ressources to make his “economy” survive.

    • jerry hamilton

      It might just have been a little article to piss America off.
      There will be some American firms hoping to get contracts.

      • Of course, when Americans ‘win’ the war, they get all the contracts as well as nullifying existing contracts. This is what they did in Iraq, I believe. Thieves and robbers. Of course they always take off with the gold – even in Ukraine.

        • jerry hamilton

          Do they do Kol Nidre too?

  • Michał Hunicz

    “War in Syria has entered its 7th year”

    Let’s see:


    No, 15th March will be the 8th year started, while still this war is ongoing since almost 7 years.

  • Serious

    In modern societies, everything is about money. So people lie and do awful things to make money.

    Surprisingly, I noticed that even doctors, dentists, … lie just to make money. Thatt was very surprising because playing with people health to make money is awful. But, I told you, never underestimate the evil of people.

    I read many testimonies where people are told to make not needed surgeries or operations or surgeries that have high level of resulting in a large irreversible handicap. Even, these “doctors” tell you they can do nothing and people find by themselfs that plants help them to treat !!! That’s why surely the native american used plants !!

    I have thought about it and I think that the west society has absolutely no future and it’s getting worst and worst.

    • jerry hamilton

      Lookup Rockefeller’s modern medicine.
      Natural remedies used to cure everything before he corrupted it to chemicals.
      Naturally he had to pay off the government to get there.

      • Serious

        I don’t say that modern medicine is garbage or whatever. I think it’s critical and very useful. But, to prevent some disease and even treat some, there are plenty of plants that do the job. They don’t prescribe it because either they don’t know, either they don’t have the right to because people must pay for laboratories so that the CEO of laboratories can pay hos big mansion and his Porsche.

        All this is because money has became the central goal of the west societies.

        • jerry hamilton

          Money is their god. You only need to look at Martin Shkreli to see that.

          • Serious

            I don’t know if you have noticed but nowadays, there new “low cost” medical center aim to treat the poors. XD.

            Of course, these medical centers are just money maker because poors don’t have a lot of money but there are al lot of them !!

            And these low-cost medical centers only want money and make awful job most of the part making your health in great danger.

            Also, there are the opposite, the super luxurious medical centers. These centers are also money makers and always want to give you the more expensive treatment and some others treatment just for “prevention”. Most of the time, the result is not good and once they get the money, they don’t care about you.

          • jerry hamilton

            I live in the UK. We have the NHS which treats everyone really well.
            It is incredibly mismanaged and is costing a fortune to keep going.

            I spent a fortnight in Silver Springs, Nevada a few years back.
            Most people there were in some form of pain.
            They could never afford to get themselves fixed.

          • Serious

            NHS is a public service. I talk about new coming private low cost medical care.

            People think that public doesn’t work but I find that public services work better than private in most cases. In the US, you surely went to a private medical care.

            So, instead of paying private insurances that cost a fortune and cover nothing, you better pay NHS.

    • Rob

      For Washington it is so easy to destabilise and divide an Arab country into several small states instead to unite and stabilise several Arab countries into one country because that is against their interests.

  • Serious

    Something also I have never understood. People pay go to college. After that, companies beneficit from this. So, why don’t companies pay studies or part of it ???

    They say that you pay for your education. But, the one who make big money is the CEO. And without workers, the CEO is nothing and the company is nothing !!!

    • goingbrokes

      We are observing the latter days of the modern corporate kleptocracy. It is also called the Private Public Partnership, where all the costs and losses are socialised and all profits are privatised. There are many corporations out there who make it their primary job to raid the public coffers of Countries, states, local government, and anything else that is left over. For example, a fundamentally non-profitable mining project can make a lot of money for the CEOs if they can bribe the state operators to put some investment into it. So, essentially a scam of the kleptocrats.

      • Serious

        Of course, costs and losses are socialised and all profits are privatised. That’s the definition of banks. Who do you think will pay when a bank bankrupt ??? It’s the people. The CEO of the bank make big money from nowhere and people will pay in case of trouble.

        Welcome to the “civilized” world. XD.

        I’m pretty sure that in USA, the average internet bandwidth is low and that they pay a lot and that Americans pay their phone bill a fortune. But, it’s privatization !!! It’s works !!! XD.

        And I don’t talk about insurances, …. the big scam. Of course, I think it will be a better idea to pay your state instead of having a private insurance. Like that the money pay the debt and you are covered. But, instead, people pay private insurance that cover nothing and pay also taxes to the gov !!! XD.

      • Also known as Fascism. Corporate/Statist collusion.

        • You can call me Al


    • Promitheas Apollonious

      intelligent resourceful humans don’t waste 18 -22 years of their lives and paying a fortune in a doubtful education that supply you in all reality with a piece of paper that make you eligible to be someones employee, or an unemployed with a degree. A degree of what, how to be a tax slave?

      • Serious

        Of course, I think that west education in a f…ing waste of time and children are loosing their childhood going to scholl to learn nothing except to be brainshwashed by WW2.

        At the age of 13, school must be stopped. You don’t need to learn useless or fake things.

        And I learned also that in France, the better engineering school pay their students. So, I found that my idea was not so stupid. Indeed, the state need engineers and these students sacrifies their time to study to build nuclear plants, TGV, helicopters, airplanes, ….

        That’s why France create the best helicopters, create TGV, nuclear plants, ….

        If you pay for you college degree, so, you will somehow try to rob people after to make money to pay your bank.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          I kind of agree with you. The best education for the individual after they learn to read and write is self education, in what really interest you and not the brainwashing that goes on in so called education.

          The reason people think when they send their children in school they actually get an education is because they don’t bother checking what they teach their children and because of the system who convince every one that the education they set in schools is mandatory and if you don’t send your children to be poisoned mentally and physically by their teaching and drug pushing on them with imaginary mental sickness invented by the drug industry they will take them away form you and accuse you of many things.

          And this the idiots call it democracy and human rights. Trust a slave to make parties of their slavery. Pathetic.

      • RichardD

        You can pay the government’s bills with 100% of the profit of 20% of the economy without taxation. The North Koreans do it. They outlawed taxation as a human and civil rights violation in the 1970s. And pay the government’s bills with income from state owned enterprises.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          i know this and have never paid income tax to no government. But not many know how to use the system any system they live in to their benefit, and stay out of the system.

          The first mistake humans do is trying to change what they have not the power to change and behave as don quixotes that are about to save the world. There are easier ways if you are educated enough to beat the system with out have to live your homeland and live as a stranger in another country.

          • RichardD

            I’m not interested in living on the fringe or other side of the law. And dropping out of the system to avoid income taxes. People in the US who fight the IRS in a rigged system lose.

            I live in one of ten US states that outlawed income tax. The other 40 have state, and in a number of places municipal income tax. So I’ve beat 50 to 66% of the problem legally. A second passport and dual citizenship can add to that.

    • Rob

      For Washington it is so easy to destablise a country and then move their nation to refugee camps instead opposite to it.
      For Washington it is so easy to provide rifles and ATGMs to opposition in a country instead of pen and book because that is against their interests.

    • Sinbad2

      True, but companies only think short term profits. The user pays system used by the USA has resulted in a shortage of American engineers. That doesn’t bother American companies, because they can employ people from other nations that have publicly funded education.
      However at a national level, over the longer term, it reduces a nations ability to earn an income from the technical fields, and also effects defense capabilities.
      There are many more Russian engineers than American engineers, even though the US population is much larger than Russia’s.

      That’s why Russian aircraft are more advanced, cheaper and quicker to deploy.
      In America, if you’re smart, and want to recoup the high cost of a university education, you study banking, not science.

  • Starlight

    Syria can make money again. But from this day onward, Israel, the UK, the USA, France and Germany will periodically DESTROY key infrastructure in Syria on a regular basis under one pretext or another. This to keep Syria poor and inneffective on behalf of the jews of Israel.

    And Syria will be prohibited from doing business with the West- which is essentailly everywhere but some parts of Russia and China (many major companies in Russia and Chinaactually respect and obey the West’s sanctions).

    Syria’s prospects for the next three decades are less than a TENTH of its peak in this century. And that’s all the jews of Israel wanted- and what Putin carefully allowed them to gain.

  • Joe Dokes

    Trump has captured the backbone of the Syrian economy. He is not stupid.

    • Sinbad2

      Exactly, all wars are about money.
      The US has become very rich by holding guns to the heads of those with resources.
      Even the Saudis were not really willing partners in the petrodollar system Nixon forced on them.

  • Douglas Houck

    Interesting article but a bit dated. See

    “In accordance with an energy cooperation framework agreement signed in late January, Russia will have exclusive rights to produce oil and gas in Syria.”

  • China, Iran and Russia will rebuild Syria. McCain cronies won’t get any No Bid contracts this time! :D

  • mary12000

    Most of the oil fields are east of the Euphrates River controlled by rebels and US forces. This will most likely pay for the rebels war machine continuing the war. Why the US is involved in this civil war now that ISIS is near total destruction I do not know. Maybe a homeland for the Kurds which Turkey might not accept.

    Not sure what Russia thinks of the US and so called friendly rebels maintaining such a large part of the country east of the Euphrates but as long as this rebel presence is there the war will continue. Why Trump allows continued US Troops and air power in this region only he knows, after stating we should get out of there. Russia used Syria as a deep water port before the war and likely wants to use it again being the only friendly deep water port in the area. Not sure if Turkey will return the Syrian land they invaded further complicating matters. Either way the US should not be involved in this war.