Total signs exploration agreements with Syria

Total has signed three oil and gas agreements with Syria that will strengthen the group's long-term presence in the country, according to CEO Christophe de Margerie.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4 -- Total SA has signed three oil and gas agreements with Syria that will strengthen the group's long-term presence in the country, according to Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie.

The three agreements "pave the way for increased cooperation between Total and Syria and bolster our operations in partnership with the national oil companies of this country," De Margerie said, while accompanying French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a trip to Syria (OGJ Online, Sept. 2, 2008).

The first agreement renews the Deir Ezzor oil license, wholly owned by Total and jointly operated by Total and the state-owned Syrian Petroleum Co (SPC) via the Deir Ezzor Petroleum Co joint venture.

Total said the license for Deir Ezzor was extended for 10 years to 2021, and that the extension will enable the French firm to prolong and optimize production from the Jafra, Qahar, and Atalla fields.

Discussions between the two sides began in early April over the earlier agreement, signed in 1988, which allowed Total to produce some 30,000 b/d of oil at Deir Ezzor.

The second agreement covers enhancing output from the Tabiyeh gas and condensate field to increase gas deliveries to the domestic market from the Deir Ezzor plant. This agreement will help Total develop its activities in Syria's gas industry.

The third agreement came in the form of a memorandum of understanding with SPC and the state-owned Syrian Gas Co to establish a strategic partnership that "will allow the development of common projects between Total and those companies."

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

More in Exploration & Development