The European Union's decision to ban oil imports from Syria would have a great impact on the country's economy, economy expert Ayed Fadhliyeh said here, Sunday. In press remarks, the expert said that 95 percent of Syria's oil exports were destined for the EU region, and the latest sanctions would undoubtedly greatly affect the economy.
The EU countries have agreed to ban import, purchase, or transport of Syrian crude oil and petrochemical products. The ban also covers all financing or insurance transactions related to oil sales. Syria exports a daily 150,000 barrels, out of an overall 385,000 barrels. Fadhliyeh remarked that the harm is likely to be medium-range, with short-term contracts already sealed. There is now a need to find partners and exporters for the medium-range, he said. Most alarming, though, is not the latest batch of EU sanctions, but a possibility that other non-EU countries would shun Syrian trade either under EU and US pressure or in exchange for economic bargains or trade-offs.
On the EU side, there is bound to be some confusion as well on the long-run, in view of the great volume of Syrian oil the bloc usually imports. Some oil producers could hike their output to compensate the shortage, he said. Till the latest EU ban was issued, Companies such as Shell refrained from stopping operations in Syria, with Royal Dutch Shell saying it will not stop producing oil in Syria unless it is directed to do so by the European Union. The argument made by a company official was that halting operations there would hurt the Syrian people more than the Assad government.
Shell's "Neverland Star" tanker is expected to berth in the port of Banias sometime this week with a crude oil shipment. Syria makes 28 percent of its revenue from oil exports. Of the daily output of 385,000 barrels, the country exports some 150,000 barrels. The remainder is processed at the Homs and Banias refineries.