Syria outlines plans for three refineries

Syria plans to build three refineries that would process a combined 350,000 b/d of oil, Syrian Oil Minister Eng. Sufian Al Alao told OGJ in London.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, July 3 -- Syria plans to build three refineries that would process a combined 350,000 b/d of oil, Syrian Oil Minister Eng. Sufian Al Alao told OGJ in London.

The first refinery, with a planned capacity of 70,000 b/d, is being built in Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria in partnership with China National Petroleum Corp. The facility is expected to come on stream within the next 3 years. Investment is pegged at $1.2 billion.

Syria has signed a memorandum of understanding with Noor Financial Investment Co. from Kuwait for a second 70,000 b/d refinery in Deir ez-Zor, which also will cost $1.2 billion. It will be the first refinery in Syria to be developed and partly owned by private investors. Noor also plans to establish 50 retail outlets in Syria at an estimated cost of $100 million under its brand name.

Syria, Iran, and Venezuela also have agreed to build a 140,000 b/d refinery in the Homs, Syria, area, Al Alao said.

Production initiatives
Syria is producing 400,000 b/d of oil, 50% of which is light oil and the other 50%, heavy oil. Gas production is 8-9 billion cu m/year. Omar Al Hamad, general manager of Syrian Petroleum Co., said SPC is trying to stem the fall in production by increasing recovery from fields it manages. "We have more than 13 contracts with companies, and we hope to get good results from these," he said. "We are compensating with gas," he added. SPC has called for bids by July 12 on seven onshore blocks covering 40,000 sq km.

About 24 companies have expressed interest in the acreage.

Syria has asked CNPC and Canada's Dublin International Petroleum Co. to improve production and recovery factors of Tisheen, Roudeh, and Kubibe oil fields under previous agreements. CNPC is working on Kubibe field, which produces 11,000 b/d of oil and has a 20% recovery factor now. Dublin is working on the other two, with heavy oil field Tisheen having a recovery rate of 16%. "Dublin is using steam injection for Tisheen," Al Hamad said.

Syrian gas demand is 12 million cu m/day, and discovered gas is being used for domestic needs, Al Hamad told OGJ.

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a memorandum of understanding to help Syria develop its gas industry as a hub for delivery from neighboring countries to Europe, a Shell spokeswoman told OGJ. Shell will draw up a master gas plan, including an assessment of undiscovered gas potential in Syria, studies on gas production, and an evaluation of Syrian gas transmission and distribution networks. She could not give a timetable for completion of the studies.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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