Syria, Russia sign deal on offshore oil production

Damascus, Dec 26 (IANS) Syria's Ministry of Petroleum has signed a contract with a Russian oil company on oil exploration, development and production in the Syrian territorial waters, media reports said.

The official SANA news agency spelled no further details Wednesday, but other media reports said that the Minister of Oil, Sulaiman Abbas, signed the contract with the Russian company named Ceo Naftagas, reported Xinhua.

The contract is for oil exploration and production in the block two of Syria's territorial water, which stretches from the shore of the coastal city of Tartous to the city of Banyas.

The minister said the contract will go into effect "immediately " in spite of the sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union and the US, noting that the Russian companies in Syria have not stopped its work despite the sanctions.

Oil, the lifeline for the Syrian economy, is at risk as the main oil fields are located in rebel-held areas in northeastern Syria and are erroneously used by gunmen, according to reports, which added that 40,000 oil barrels were stolen on a daily basis.