Syrians walk through a bazaar in Damascus
Syrians walk through a bazaar in the old city of Damascus on April 10. Western sanctions on Syrian oil exports have cost the country nearly $3 billion dollars in losses, Petroleum Minister Sufian Allaw has said. © Louai Beshara - AFP
Syrians walk through a bazaar in Damascus
AFP
Last updated: May 8, 2012

Western oil sanctions cost Syria $3 billion

Western sanctions on Syrian oil exports have cost the country nearly $3 billion dollars in losses, Petroleum Minister Sufian Allaw said on Tuesday.

"The petroleum sector has suffered significant losses due to sanctions, and Syria has reduced its production," the minister said in a statement.

Production has been reduced by a total of 35 million barrels since the European Union and the United States imposed their sanctions in April last year, he said.

Allaw highlighted the efforts of Syrian technicians to "continue exploration and production and ensure the country's gas and oil needs are met."

"The ministry is working to overcome the difficulties... posed by the unjust decision of the US and the EU to stop importing Syrian oil," Allaw said, pointing out that Syria previously produced 380,000 bpd and exported nearly 150,000 bpd.

He said that oil giants Shell and Total, and other companies like Croatia's INA and Canada's Petro Canada, had suspended operations in Syria.

The ministry said the sector had also been hit by "acts of sabotage committed by armed terrorist groups attacking oil pipelines and facilities."

The EU has adopted several rounds of sanctions against Syria, expected to tighten further, to pressure the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its deadly crackdown on a nearly 14-month uprising.

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