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Stage set for Syroil 2010


NEARLY 300 BUSINESSES, government agencies and institutions rented space at Syroil in 2008. This year’s event, from 5-8 April, should attract even more because of Syria’s fast-rising status as the oil and gas crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean.

p>NEARLY 300 BUSINESSES, government agencies and institutions rented space at Syroil in 2008. This year’s event, from 5-8 April, should attract even more because of Syria’s fast-rising status as the oil and gas crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean.

The news is not all good, however: domestic production of crude has been falling over the last 10 years, to 390,000 bbl/d in 2008 (plus around 60,000 as NGLs according to the US’s EIA). Syria has nevertheless maintained its status as a small net exporter and is busily upgrading its wholesale product range with the European markets in mind. And it is getting lots of help – from Tatneft in Russia and various Chinese and Indian concerns, as well as majors like Shell and Total, plus miscellaneous others based in countries like Iran, Turkey and Venezuela – to find more oil and gas and boost its modest proven reserves which currently stand at around 2.5bn bbl.
But Syria is rapidly emerging as a lucrative energy-handling centre for the entire Middle East, and for under-explored Central Asia too. There’s a lot happening within this country, certainly, and that’s what this year’s Syroil will be mainly all about, with a particular emphasis on attracting foreign investment.

Increased number of visitors

However, there is even more going on around Syria's borders, and unfettered international progress on some of these developments is not going to be possible unless Syrian Petroleum, Syrian Gas and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources are kept on board. That is why an increased number of foreign visitors are expected in the Syrian capital this year.
There are quite a few examples of this activity, of which three in particular stand out. First, the new Arab Gas Pipeline, now supplying Egyptian gas to both Damascus and to Homs (the location of the country’s second largest refinery), is making rapid progress towards the Turkish border. When that is reached, part of North Africa’s abundant gas reserves will be put into physical contact with the world’s largest regional deficit market via a brand new ‘eastern’ route, providing a major new source of secure supplies and – critically – reducing reliance on Russian supplies at a stroke. There is a probable date of 2011 or thereabouts for the initial connection; watch for details of supply deals from then on.
Second, good progress is being made on the massive Nabucco Pipeline which will bring Central Asian gas straight into Europe, via what will amount to a southern Russian bypass route. This landmark development will not affect Syria directly, but the new line will transit (and therefore part-fund) Syria’s northern neighbour, which in turn will be paying Damascus for some of the delivery costs of the Egyptian (and just conceivably one day Libyan) gas it receives. So maintaining good energy relations between the two countries is an essential prerequisite for the probable opening of the 3500 km-long pipeline in 2014.
And third, until 2003 the port of Banyas was functioning as the busy eastern terminal of the major oil line bringing crude from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. Reinstating this key delivery route will not be a major engineering challenge, although the political and operational problems could be much more severe.

Revenue source

When back in action, this pipeline could become (via the restoration of the transit rights it used to earn) a major source of revenue for the Syrian state once again. But the timing has yet to be decided, and this is outside Damascus’ control.
As though all this potential transiting traffic were not enough, negotiations are proceeding on long-term arrangements for the purchase by Syria of gas from Iran’s under-developed South Pars field (both its on- and offshore segments), presumably for use down the remoter left bank of the Euphrates.
In other words, one of the Arab world’s smaller energy producers, and only a marginal contributor to the world’s liquids trade, which also happens to be heavily involved in development of renewables because it recognises the dwindling nature of its own domestic assets, is standing in waiting as a marshalling-yard -come-onwards-shipment site for an increasingly large slice of Western Europe’s major imports – of both oil and gas –in the future.
With so much of a regional integration role on the way, it is no wonder visitor numbers at the 7th Syroil are expected to be well up on the 8,000-plus who came along in 2008.
Damascus prides itself on being the major city with the longest period of continuous occupation on earth. As our introduction implies the time is now ripe for its emergence as a key strategic centre for the world’s energy industries too.

Syroil 2010 is being organised by Allied Expo
(+963 11 332 4801/2/3 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Full details including categories of exhibits and the latest available floor plan of exhibitors can be viewed at