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UPI Energy Watch: Syria to stabilize decline in oil output

Published: July 18, 2007 at 11:35 AM

UPI Energy Correspondent

Syria’s decline in crude oil production has gathered pace in the first quarter of 2007, according to figures released by the government as it seeks to promote fresh exploration efforts.

In the first quarter of this year, oil production averaged 382,300 barrels per day, compared with about 400,000 bpd in 2006 and 430,000 bpd the previous year, according to the Ministry of Petroleum.

If output continues to decline at the same rate as in the first quarter, Syria could become a net oil importer by the end of 2008, but the government hopes to stem the rate of decline through enhanced oil recovery operations in both marginal and mature fields.

The government hopes to get new exploration activity under way after awarding concessions in bid rounds over the last three years, as well as from several onshore and offshore blocks for which bids have been invited.

But the government has had a hard time attracting investors. The deadline for the seven onshore blocks (which have been re-tendered after receiving no bids in earlier rounds) was July 12; offers for the four offshore blocks are due on Sept. 27.

Foreign firms with an office in Syria include Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Petro Canada, INA Naftaplin of Croatia and France’s Total — all of which attended a presentation organized in London by the Ministry of Petroleum on June 27 for these blocks.

Closing oil prices, July 18, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $76.69

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $74.20

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