Specialists at the Syrian oil ministry have estimated that the cost of building a new oil refinery in the central region would reach $1.1 billion. This figure, reported in Al-Hayat daily, was higher than the estimate of renewing the existing Homs oil refinery. The results of a study conducted by the Homs oil refinery authority have shown that this development project would cost an estimated $800 million.
Those in favor of constructing an additional refinery, as opposed to improving the old one, have stated that it will be built in the eastern part of Homs, thus, keeping the air pollution suffered by neighboring residents to a minimum.
There are presently two oil refineries operating within Syria – the Homs and Banyas refineries, with a joint production capacity of 11 tons per day. The total Syrian oil production amounts to 650,000 barrels per day.
Oil production accounts for 40 percent of Syria’s GDP, and over 60 percent of its exports. However, until the early 1990s, the Syrian oil export was affected by its poor quality, as most of it contains large quantities of sulfur and requires dilution with easily refined crude oil. As a result of the discovery this light oil, the production of oil doubled between 1988 and 1993, and has remained stable since 1995, in which 29.7 tons were produced.
According to studies conducted in 1995, at the current rate of production, Syria’s oil reserves will be used up within the upcoming decade. There have been no recent discoveries of oil fields with any real commercial value, thus, resulting in a decline of foreign interest in this sector.
The Syrian government, in turn, have decided to implement policies geared towards raising international interest and encouraging foreign companies to resume activities in the country. –(Albawaba-MEBG)