Daily Brief

Offshore Oil Exploration Deal Deepens Russia-Syria Ties

January 2, 2014
| Energy
| Middle East and North Africa, Russia and Central Asia

Communist party members hold a portrait of Syrian President
Assad in Moscow, 12 Sept. 2013.(EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV) 

The Syrian government signed a 25-year exploration and development agreement with the Russian state-owned energy company Soyuzneftegaz last week to exploit its offshore oil and natural gas reserves . . . Syrian Oil Minister Suleiman Abbas hailed the deal for the 845-square mile bloc, which will extend 45 miles into the Mediterranean Sea, as “a continuation of the fruitful cooperation” between Damascus and Moscow . . . Syria has seen its oil production decline over 50 percent since the country’s civil war began in March 2011 . . . the contract, which covers territory firmly within loyalist territory, sees the Russian government spending$90 million for drilling and surveying . . . the deal gives Syrian President Bashar al Assad another lifeline thanks to the much-needed money . . . the agreement also gives the regime a diplomatic boost by reaffirming Russia’s confidence in the country.

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