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Syria Cuts Oil Production in Response to US, EU Sanctions

Sanctions against Syria have begun to affect oil production, as Damascus finds it cannot sell export its crude abroad.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/9/2011, 12:48 PM

Syrian oil well
Syrian oil well
SANA

Damascus has ordered cuts in oil production as it begins to find it cannot export its crude due to economic sanctions by the United States and by the European Union

Gulfsands Petroleum has told United Press International that it was ordered by the Syrian Oil Ministry last month to reduce its production.

The reason given, said the company, was the reduced availability of crude storage capacity in the country.

Activity at exploration wells is continuing at normal levels thus far, said the firm. However, the company added in its six-month earnings statement that “uncertainty exists” in Syria due to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union. Canada last week joined in the sanctions on Syria's energy sector as well.

A wider effort to impose international sanctions by the United Nations Security Council failed when Russia and China vetoed a watered-down measure in a vote last week.

Gulfsands, operating in Syria since 2000, announced in August that it was halting payments to Rami Makhlouf, first cousin to President Bashar al-Assad. The company had also suspended Makhlouf's voting rights in the firm.

Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell and the French-owned Total firm were also ordered to cut their production.