Syrian oil reserves could last 10 years longer than previously thought

Jul 30, 2001 02:00 AM

The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum said that the country's oil resources could last until 2020, 10 years longer than previous reports had claimed. The ministry said that the country's reserves amounted to 23 mm barrels, only 3 mm of which have been used. Based on Syria's current production rate of 600,000 bpd ­ 320,000 of which are shipped to the West ­ the ministry projected that oil reserves would run dry in 2020. And when the oil runs out, Syria can turn to natural gas to fill the Treasury's coffers.
In 1998, Syria discovered a reserve of natural gas that amounted to 600 bn cm ­ a gold mine for a country which relies heavily on its dwindling petroleum reserves. The find prompted the government to invest heavily in gas, building a $ 400 mm extraction plant in the Dayr al-Zour district along the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

Currently administered by Conoco, the plant is expected to satisfy Syria's gas needs. Currently, the country imports 40 % of its gas needs at a cost of $ 50 mm per year. The new project, which will begin full-scale excavation on July 31, is expected to generate annual revenue of $ 180 mm.
Lebanon has already benefited from the Syrian discovery. Since 1999, Lebanon has received 3 mm cmpd of gas for electricity production. Syria began pumping gas into Turkey in 2001, signing a treaty with Ankara that also allows Syria to direct gas to Europe through Turkey. In four years, the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum will take over the operation. Currently, Syria produces 13 mm cmpd of gas. Once the Dayr al-Zour project begins excavating gas production is expected to rise to 25 mm cmpd.

Source: The Daily Star
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