Syria’s Petroleum Minister Ali Ghanem disclosed an explosion at the 125,000 b/d Banias coastal refinery this week, which killed one engineer. The explosion took place during maintenance and it is unclear how the damage will affect operations.

If the explosion does cause a shut-down it will constitute a major blow to the country’s oil products needs. Banias is one of two refineries in Syria (the other being the 120,000 b/d Homs refinery) and handles the crude imported on the Mediterranean – all of which comes from Iran. Iranian exports have averaged 30,000-60,000 b/d in recent years, financed by a credit line from the Assad government's key ally. But tracking data suggests imports have increased in recent months, with Tanker Trackers reporting average imports of 75,000 b/d for April-September, including 96,000 b/d in September. (CONTINUED - 182 WORDS)