Robert HARNEIS -TDO- Syrian and Russian companies began joint work on oil and gas geological exploration in the Mediterranean Sea, Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, said

“This is the first time I say this - Syria began joint work with Russian companies on oil and gas geological exploration in the Mediterranean Sea,” Shaaban said in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen broadcaster.

She added that the Syrian authorities began preparing for this project several years ago.

In 2017, Syrian President Assad said that the Syrian government hadsigned contracts with a number of Russian oil and gas companies and would continue to do so.

Last week, the Al-Watan newspaper said that the Syrian authorities planned to switch public transport and taxis from gasoline to natural gas amid an oil deficit in the country. The source said that there were sufficient natural gas resources in central Syria, and the country expected to produce more on its Mediterranean shore in the future.

In April, a gasoline crisis erupted in Syria. At peak times, queues to gasoline stations in Damascus reached about 300 cars, with similar situations seen in other cities. Subsequently, the authorities raised gasoline prices and imposed restrictions on the purchase of fuel.

Syria consumes about 100,000 barrels of oil per day, and produces only 24,000 barrels. Many of the country’s oil facilities have either been destroyed or are out of government control. At the same time Western sanctions hinder the delivery of oil and oil products to the country.

Recent moves by the US to remain in Syrian territory east of the Euphrates are, partly at any rate, to hinder the Syrian government in getting its oil fields back on line and thus earn the money it needs to rebuild the country.

The start of gas exploration comes amid absence of accurate figures on gas reserves in Syrian territorial waters. Nevertheless, there have been figures issued from research centers, including the Firil Center for Studies FCFS Berlin, which estimated in May 2017, in a report entitled ‘Syria at third international rank in gas production,’ gas reserves of 28 trillion cubic meters.

In an interview with Russia Today (RT) TV in February 2018, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem stated that the maritime sector is a gas sector and it is very promising, and that there are large reserves in the Syrian maritime sections

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