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The autonomous government of northeast Syria has signed a deal for the marketing of crude oil with a U.S. company, Al-Monitor reports, citing unnamed sources in the know. What’s more, the report says the deal had the blessing of Washington.
Most of Syria’s oil is in the northeast of the country, which is under the control of a Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of opposition formation Syrian Democratic Forces, which has enjoyed U.S. support through the prolonged conflict.
A representative of the Syrian Democratic Council to the United States confirmed that the deal was made by Delta Crescent Energy LLC, Al-Monitor said, although she did not provide any further details.
The unnamed sources also told Al-Monitor that the United States was going to supply two modular refineries to northeastern Syria, which will satisfy a fifth of the oil-rich region’s needs. At the moment, most of the oil still produced in Syria—around 60,000 bpd—is refined in makeshift facilities. Before the war, the country produced 380,000 bpd.
Separately, Kurdistan 24 reported that Senator Lindsay Graham had revealed a deal between the Syrian Democratic Forces and a U.S. oil company to modernize the oil fields under the control of the opposition group. According to the Al-Monitor sources, this is the same deal closed with Delta Crescent Energy.
“I talked to General Mazloum yesterday, with the SDF,” Graham told Foreign Secretary Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee session. “Apparently, they’ve signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria. Are you supportive of that?”
In response, Pompeo noted that “The deal took a little longer than we had hoped,” revealing that the State Department was involved in closing the deal. He added, “we are now in implementation, and it can be very powerful.”
The deal comes on the heels of new sanctions announced by Washington against the Syrian government, under the so-called Caesar Act.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com