The US-backed (and mostly Kurdish) Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) restarted production at Tanak oil field, local media reported this week. Located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the field was operated by the Al Furat Petroleum Company JV (state firm GPC 50%, Shell 20.3%, China’s CNPC 20.3%, India’s ONGC 9.4%) until fighting halted output in 2013 (MEES, 5 April 2013). Islamic State militants subsequently resumed production after seizing the fields in 2014. The Financial Times in 2016 estimated output from the field at 10-12,000 b/d under IS-operation. One report puts current Tanak output at 5,000 b/d, but without extensive investment substantial production gains are unlikely. The Al Furat fields, which produce Syrian Light crude hit 400,000 b/d in the late 1990s due to water injection but had already fallen to 91,600 b/d by the outbreak of war in 2011 (MEES, 16 May 2011) – and Tanak field contributed a small portion of this.
It is an open secret that Kurdish forces share over 50% of oil revenues with Damascus but the proximity of Tanak to a US military base may mean the oil is being sold elsewhere. (CONTINUED - 177 WORDS)