While the Assad regime was announcing the discovery of new oil fields in the Damascus capital area through the Director General of the Syrian Oil Company, Firas Kaddour, his media was cheering and applauding the news of the arrival of two tankers loaded with two million barrels of crude oil, and a domestic gas tanker loaded with 2,000 tons to Baniyas.
In practice, the shipment, which finally arrived after Iranian dictates, the least of which was raising the price of a barrel of oil to reach the level of the global market without giving preferential prices, is equivalent to Syria’s oil production for only five days. Syria’s oil production in 2010 amounted to about 400,000 barrels per day, 250,000 barrels were consumed locally and the rest was exported.
Bashar al-Assad mortgaged the country’s resources to Russia and Iran, begging them for the crumbs after the division between the regime and its financial fronts became 1% of the country’s resources and 99% to Iran through its businessmen affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia.
The territories controlled by the regime are rich in oil, gas, and phosphates. These resources are abundant and exceed the needs of the 9.4 million residents in these areas. The claim that “America steals Syrian oil” is false and misleading propaganda. In fact, the Americans take much less than the Russians and Iranians. The primary cause of energy shortages, including electricity, oil, gas, and phosphate, is the result of sales made by Bashar al-Assad to Russia and Iran and his subsequent reliance on them for resources.
In 2020, the regime signed contracts for oil exploration with the Iranian side. The People’s Assembly then discussed a draft law ratifying the contract for oil exploration, development and production in Block No. (12) in the Albu Kamal area in the countryside of Deir-ez-Zor.
At the time, the Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources justified the law during the parliament’s discussion of the contract, saying that the agreement comes within the ministry’s strategic plan to increase drilling, exploration, and development operations and improve the yield of oil and gas fields. The new deal is an oil contract in favour of repaying the long-term credit debt, which will raise Syrian oil production to 90,000 barrels per day by the end of the year.
Oil expert Mohammed Saleh Awwad stated that Iran exerted pressure on the Assad regime, resulting in the regime giving up its full rights to explore and invest in numerous oil fields. Iran seeks to repay debts and secure long-term agreements following international efforts to remove the regime from Syria. According to Iranian estimates, the Assad regime owes between 40 and 50 billion dollars to Iran. As a result, the production from Syrian oil fields is expected to be entirely controlled by Iran for the next 25 years or more.
Awwad, who previously worked in the al-Taym oil field for about 17 years, told Orient Net that the regime overextended exploration contracts in the Deir-ez-Zor governorate, especially the Albu Kamal area, which is described as “the richest in oil”. He based his words on his long experience as an employee in the Taym field for about 17 years before the revolution.
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.