Syria’s oil resources could last until 2020, 10 years longer than previous reports had claimed, said the oil ministry.
The ministry said that the country’s reserves amounted to 23 million barrels, only 3 million of which have been used, the Daily Star newspaper said, citing a ministry statement.
Based on Syria’s current production rate of 600,000 barrels per day -- 320,000 of which are shipped to the West -- the ministry projected that oil reserves would run dry in 2020.
“And when the oil runs out, Syria can turn to natural gas to fill the treasury’s coffers,” said the statement.
In 1998, Syria discovered a reserve of natural gas that amounted to 600 billion cubic meters, a gold mine for a country which relies heavily on its dwindling petroleum reserves. The find prompted the government to invest heavily in gas, building a $400 million extraction plant in the Dayr Al Zour district along the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
Currently administered by the American company Conoco, the plant is expected to satisfy Syria’s gas needs. Currently, the country imports 40 percent of its gas needs at a cost of $50 million per year.
The new project, which will begin full-scale operations on July 31, is expected to generate annual revenue of $180 million, said the paper.
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