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Global Energy Advisory April 22nd 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• Oil fields in northern Syria are now nominally under the control of the Syrian Kurds. Most of these resources are in Deir ez-Zor, in the Rojava region. The Islamic State stepped in around mid-2014 to attempt to take over these oil resources, whose control was ambiguous and in many cases tribal and individual (smugglers). The Kurds largely kept ISIS from destroying or assuming full control. Earlier this month, the Kurds seized the Rweshid oil field after pushing ISIS out of the Abu Khashab district in northeastern Hasakah province.

This area remains very important to the Assad regime. Before the conflict it was producing about one-third of Syria’s oil. The Kurds’ key complaint before the conflict was that their territory contributed substantially to the national oil production, but at the same time suffered from a shortage of oil after the regime’s distribution. Now that the Kurds have largely managed to secure control of the oil production here, there is talk that it’s being put to better use than it was before the conflict.

That’s the background …. to the next phase in the Syrian conflict, which pits the Syrian Kurds decidedly against the regime, and it’s all about oil. Clashes broke out on Wednesday and had intensified by Thursday between the two sides in the country’s northeast. And now that ISIS has largely been sidelined (with Russia’s help), the regime…

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