Overview of international entities in Syria

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International oil companies operating in Syria as of early 2011 included Royal Dutch Shell, India's ONGC, French Total and Chinese CNPC. Many of the IOCs withdrew from Syria in 2011-12 following the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, in order to comply with sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.[1]

According to the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, 28 contracts were signed with international companies for exploration and production of oil and gas between 1977 and 2008.[2]

Oil production and development in Syria are managed by the Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC), an offshoot of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. International oil companies were allowed to participate in Syria's oil industry in an attempt to stem the country's production decline, notably via the formation of the Al Furat Petroleum Company (AFPC), owned jointly by the SPC, Shell and CNPC.[3]

Chinese Investment in the Industry

China has agressively targeted Syria's oil and gas sector over recent years, as part of a global energy policy which saw Beejing spend US $32 billion buying natural resource assets globally in 2009. In 2009 Chinese CNPC also purchased Emerald Energy. According to press reports in Syria Today, the Syrian government hoped that Chinese firms could make up for lack of access to up-to-date technology from the US as a result of sanctions since 2004.[4]


  1. Europe’s Oil Embargo Leaves Syria Urgently Seeking New Customers”. New York Times, 27 September 2011.
  2. Public Public Private Partnership”. Ministry Of Petroleum & Mineral Resources Syrian Syrian Arab Republic, 27 October 2009.
  3. Syria - An oil producing nation?”. Viable Opposition, 29 August 2011.
  4. Steady as She Goes”. Syria, April 2010.