European oil companies working in Syria are on fence

Business Materials 9 December 2011 17:58 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 9 / Trend S.Isayev/

European companies working in Syria have not yet stopped their activities. In particular, integrated oil company from Croatia, INA Petroleum Corporation, is to remain in Syria, company's representative told Trend.

Other foreign oil company - Gulfsands Petroleum is also expected to remain, despite the ongoing processes in Syria, according to company's official website.

It was reported earlier, that major oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Total have slashed Syrian oil production as international sanctions make exports impossible. Royal Dutch Shell will "cease" activities in Syria after the European Union blacklisted three state-owned oil companies as Brussels tries to raise the pressure on Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Royal Dutch Shell and Total are among the largest foreign investors in the Syrian crude oil industry. State-owned CNPC of China and ONGC of India are also large investors but will be unaffected by the European sanctions.

Street protests began in Syria nine months ago, inspired by a wave of revolt across the Arab world. The ferocity of Bashar Al-Assad's crackdown triggered desertions from the armed forces, and several thousand defectors have joined a guerrilla army staging hit-and-run attacks on security forces.

The EU first imposed an embargo on oil exports from Syria in September, which forced the country to reduce production from 380,000 barrels a day to about 250,000 b/d one month later. Damascus has failed to find new customers for its crude, according to oil traders' estimates. The country has also struggled to import refined products such as diesel.

Syria produced around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the unrest of which about a third was exported, with most flows going to Europe.