Direct and indirect damage to the Syrian oil industry from the ongoing civil war cost some S£200bn ($2.90bn), Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sa’id Hunaidi told the local daily al-Thawra last week. He added that government oil facilities and associated infrastructure sustained losses of some S£5bn ($72.5mn). Oil production declined as a result of the fall in crude exports after EU sanctions were imposed on Syria in September 2011 (MEES, 12 September 2011). He explained that transporting petroleum products within the country was one of the main problems facing his ministry, as a result of frequent sabotage to railways which disrupted products distribution.

Syrian Prime Minister Wail al-Halqi announced that the country will shortly start exporting crude oil to Russia at the rate of 1mn barrels/month (33,333 b/d) to be paid for in cash or goods. New shipments of gas oil totaling 210,000 tons are expected to be delivered to Syria from “friendly countries” late in October, he said. Diesel oil is to be distributed to consumers shortly. Syria imported 50% of its petroleum products from a number of friendly countries, said Mr Halqi. (CONTINUED - 280 WORDS)