Syrian Petroleum Ministry signs oil drilling contract with Russian firm. The two nations have maintained close fraternal relations since the days of the Soviet Union., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Petroleum Ministry signs contract with Russian company for offshore oil production
Dec 25, 2013
Damascus, (SANA) – The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources signed the "Amrit" contract with Russian company Soyuzneftegaz for offshore oil drilling, development and production in block no. 2 of Syria's territorial waters.
The contracts covers oil exploration in the area between Tartous city and Banyas city at a depth of 70 kilometers, covering an overall area of 2,190 square kilometers.
The contract stipulates for beginning with surveys in the area and preparing studies to pinpoint potential drilling sites, with this stage costing over USD 15 million.
The second stage will involve drilling at least one test well and it will cost over USD 75 million, and if the operations are successful, the company will carry out further drilling, development and production operations.
The contract also includes benefits such as training staff at the Syrian General Establishment of Petroleum to create a qualified Syrian workforce.
Soyuzneftegaz will be responsible for funding all the stages of the contract, and will begin operations immediately after the contract's ratification and publication.
Petroleum Minister Sleiman al-Abbas said this contract follows up on the lucrative cooperation between Russian companies and Syrian establishments, noting that implementing the contract in the current circumstances in Syria will constitute a great challenge.
Al-Abbas hoped this contract will encourage companies in friendly countries, particularly Russia, to come and invest in Syria and carry out petroleum projects in it, affirming that all Russian oil and gas companies working in Syria are still operating despite the current conditions.
On the state of oil fields in the eastern region, the Minister said that terrorist groups have targeted the oil sector and vandalized its establishments, with the theft and primitive refining of oil then smuggling it to Turkey increasing after the EU gave this theft legal cover.
In turn, Russia's Ambassador to Syria Azamat Kulmuhametov said that this contract is proof of the strong economic relations between Syria and Russia, noting that this contract has special importance as it comes at a time when Syria is facing arbitrary sanctions imposed by western countries and a number of other countries.