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Faced with oil and fuel shortages and the inability to freely import fuel because of the Western sanctions, Syria plans to have public transport switch to natural gas, local Al-Watan newspaper reports, citing sources in the state-held fuel distribution firm.
Syria, which has been in an eight-year-long war, started to feel severe fuel shortages in the spring this year, after the U.S. sanctions on Iran—a key supporter of Bashar Assad—and the western sanctions on Syria itself resulted in reduced fuel and oil imports.
Syria’s own oil industry has been crippled by the war and many oilfields had fallen in the hands of Islamic State before the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces took the fields from ISIS.
Syrian authorities had been already considering switching public transport to natural gas even before the war broke out in 2011, according to Sputnik, which quoted the report in the Al-Watan newspaper.
Apart from switching to natural gas for public transport, the Syrian government is also working to monitor the use of gas and fuel oil through GPS tracking of public transport vehicles and taxis.
However, in order to switch public transportation to natural gas, Syria needs to build more gas stations and to install the necessary equipment on the vehicles.
With the potential switch to natural gas, Syria’s government wants to reduce oil and fuel imports and demand for foreign currency, as well as to crack down on smuggling and counterfeit oil products, according to Al-Watan’s sources.
Meanwhile, the United States has moved more equipment from Iraq into Syria to boost the protection of the oil and gas fields in eastern Syria currently under the control of Kurdish militia.
The Kurdish SDF forces control most of Syria’s oil. Before the war broke out, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil per day, of which 140,000 bpd were exported.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.