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How the Latest Developments May Impact Syria’s Energy Future

How the Latest Developments May Impact Syria’s Energy Future

It appears that the civil war in Syria has, at least in the medium term, redrawn the map of the Middle East. For energy, this means that the oilfields of north-eastern Syria may well remain in the hands of the Syrian Kurds, with some degree of connection to Kurds in the north of Iraq (the KRG). The territory controlled by the Assad regime (largely Shia Muslim and holding no oil or gas) could potentially become a state of its own. The fate of the rest of Syria (largely Sunni), either under the control of IS or al-Nusra Front, or any other rebel alliance, remains the biggest unknown.

It is hence very difficult at this time to discuss what form the recovery of Syria’s energy sector might take. Syria’s oilfields (with the exception of those targeted in airstrikes) remain relatively unaffected by fighting and sabotage, but the limited options for export and transport have resulted in shut-in production. Prolonged shut-ins can reduce the effective capacity of some fields, and the EIA estimates that Syria’s production capacity – or the level of production that could return within one year – has fallen by nearly 100,000bbl/d since the start of the conflict. Thus, from a strictly technical point of view – assuming the highly complex security situation were to be resolved – production cannot be expected to recover beyond 300,000bbl/d in the near term.

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