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Syria Asks Russia for Help Rebuilding Oil Industry

Russian Air Force

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said that Russian companies have received requests from Syria to help rebuild the country’s oil and gas industry.

"Syria has asked our companies to participate in rebuilding oil and gas projects, infrastructure development, and pipeline construction…the companies are currently studying the proposals,” Novak said.

According to Novak, Lukoil, Gazprom and Zarubezhneft are among the companies invited.

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Syria has already asked Russia to participate in exploring and developing oil and gas on land and offshore. Syrian authorities indicated that Russian companies will be given a priority in the restoration of the country following the civil war.

In April, the two countries have signed nearly a billion dollars’ worth of agreements to rebuild energy, trade, finance and other sectors of the Syrian economy.

From August 30, 2015, Russia began to send troops and warplanes to Syria, expanding its airbase in Latakia. In doing this, Russia increased its level of aid to the Assad regime, both diplomatically and economically, to a level that Putin knew would make Turkey’s Erdogan uncomfortable. Russia’s presence in Syria was universally accepted as legal, and following the Paris attacks, France even requested Russian cooperation to fight against ISIS in Syria.

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Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian jets conducted over 10,000 sorties in Syria, destroying almost 30,000 targets during the course of the operation, including over 200 oil refineries.

However, Russia’s decision in March to greatly reduce its military presence in Syria, coming as it did with little warning, has left the world struggling for explanations.

After having rescued the Syrian Government’s position in Syria from certain defeat and securing a partial truce along with the onset of an imminent peace conference, the partial withdrawal is seen by many as a message to the Assad government to not take Russia’s military aid for granted, and to be more flexible in the upcoming peace negotiations.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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