On Monday, the Ministry of Internal Trade of the Syrian regime’s government announced that the price of diesel and gasoline, as sold through company BS Oil Services, would increase.
BS Oil Services is affiliated with the Katerji International Group, which is owned by Hussam Katerji, a trader with close ties to the Syrian regime.
The Ministry’s decision stated: “BS Oil Services is committed to selling the fuel that it imports for economic activities (diesel and gasoline) during December 2022 at the following prices:
Industrial and commercial diesel: 5,400 Syrian pounds per liter
Gasoline: 49,00 Syrian pounds per liter
In its decision, the ministry added that the sale of oil derivatives distributed by the hydrocarbons company, distribution centers, and other stations in Syria continues according to the specified prices.
Katerji Oil Company
Katerji’s BS Oil Services is one of the largest importers of crude oil to regime-controlled areas in Syria. Last year, it imported hundreds of thousands of metric tons of Iranian light crude oil using a range of oil tankers and trucks.
BS Petroleum Services is registered in Lebanon and has been under U.S. Treasury sanctions since 2019 under Executive Order 13582.
A few days ago, several industrialists and traders in regime-controlled areas objected to the decision of the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection to consider every company or trader that buys oil derivatives from the black market as a partner in the illegal oil trade. The business figures stressed that they have been forced to deal with the black market since the complete cessation of regime-provided oil supplies months ago.
Last Friday, the regime’s Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection said on its Facebook account: “The diesel and gasoline sold on the so-called black market is absolutely illegal — it is purchased at the subsidized oil price and then sold on the black market at several times that cost price.”
The ministry added, “This illegal activity deprives citizens of diesel for heating, as well as depriving farmers of fuel at the subsidized price and essential industries that cannot stop working, such as bakeries and hospitals. Many factories, restaurants and other establishments that received their fuel allowances at the subsidized price and then sold them to black market traders were seized,” she claimed.
The ministry described anyone who attacks those trying to crack down on the black market as “legitimizing theft and depriving citizens of their shares in oil derivatives. It would have been more useful for those attackers to turn their anger on the countries that impose sanctions on Syria, as well as on oil thieves,” the ministry said.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.