For how long will the US occupation forces continue to plunder Syrian oil?
According to the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, 235 of its cadres were killed, 112 of them were kidnapped, and the sector's loss amounted to 111.9 billion dollars.
Syria is still suffering from severe crises in various sectors, due to the unprecedented scarcity in securing oil derivatives, which has led several times in the past months to almost complete paralysis of public life.
This led the Syrian government to take exceptional austerity measures to deal with the situation.
119 billion dollars losses from the Syrian oil sector
Before the war, Syria was a self-sufficient country in the field of energy, and according to official statistics, the Syrian oil fields produced daily an estimated 386000 barrels, of which 245 thousand barrels were consumed locally, while the rest is exported as crude oil for achieving foreign exchange earnings.
Today, production in the oil fields controlled by the Syrian government does not exceed 25,000 barrels per day, amid a daily need of no less than 100,000 barrels.
According to the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, 235 of its cadres were killed, 112 of them were kidnapped, and the sector's loss amounted to 111.9 billion dollars, of which 25.9 billion dollars are direct losses inflicted by the US-led attacks of the US occupation forces and their affiliated militias.
As for indirect losses, they exceeded $86 billion, which represents the value of lost production as a result of low production, unlike planned rates under normal working conditions.
In addition, the airstrikes carried out by Turkey recently caused great damage to the energy facilities in the country, as they led to the disruption of a gas station that produces 150 tons of domestic gas per day, and about one million cubic meters of natural gas used to supply Al-Hasakah Governorate with electricity. It also led to significant environmental pollution due to tanker explosions.
Where does the plundered oil go?
When ISIS took control of the Syrian oil fields, its revenues in 2015 amounted to about 40 million dollars per month.
At the beginning of 2017, the SDF and the US occupation forces took control of those fields, and their daily oil production exceeded 80,000 barrels, with a revenue of 380 million dollars annually.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson described the US looting of Syrian oil from the areas it occupies as bandit behavior, saying, "The level of US greed in stealing resources from Syria is shocking, and it must be held accountable. Washington must have answers about this egregious act."
A local source in Al-Hasakah told Al Mayadeen English, "The smuggled Syrian oil is traded in several places, the first and closest of which are in the SDF-controlled areas in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, where it is refined in primitive refineries and sold at relatively cheap prices."
"Not a day passes without the American occupation forces and their mercenaries taking out convoys of stolen Syrian oil amounting to 66,000 barrels per day - from the occupied fields in the eastern region toward Iraqi lands, through illegal crossings of Al-Walid and Al-Mahmudiya where it is sold at very high prices." This is the second destination.
As for the third destination mentioned by the same local source, it is "the areas occupied by Turkey and the so-called "Syrian National Army" and Idlib governorate, which is controlled by Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham. Plundered oil reaches these areas through several crossings, the most important of which is the Al-Hamran crossing, at the east of Aleppo. Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham wrested control of the region from the Turkish-backed "Third Corps", which was taking large commissions in return for allowing the oil to pass into Idlib."
The source went on to say, "There are about 30 to 50 tankers smuggled into the areas controlled by the Syrian government almost every week, and these are the areas that receive the least amount of oil, which is sold there at the highest price, sometimes for 2 dollars per liter."
Syria to file a lawsuit against foreign oil companies
Since 2011, the United States and the West have imposed multiple sanctions on the Syrian oil sector, which has caused about 11 foreign oil companies to stop working in the country.
The most important companies that adhered to the US and Western sanctions are the French "Total", the Dutch "Shell", the British "Golf Sands", and the Canadian "Petro-Canada".
Although these foreign companies still have the legal right to invest in the fields of the eastern region, they persisted in their silence since they decided to suspend their work in Syria under the pretext of "majeure circumstances".
Nevertheless, no media statement was made or legal stance was taken toward the blatant plunder and illegal investment in Syria's oil fields, under the eyes of the whole world with nothing done in this regard.
An expert in the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources told Al Mayadeen English, "We were keen to address these companies officially and inform them of the developments taking place and provided them with available information about the parties that plunder each oil field, and we asked them to intervene legally in their countries to preserve their right that is being plundered by the American occupation forces. This illegal situation has been documented by official statements issued by the American officials themselves and others."
These companies had requested to stop the work of the joint companies established between them and the Syrian Oil Corporation. The latter rejected the request due to the existence of a joint “loss of benefit” in the event of this being implemented. The source explains, "The Syrian Oil Company resorted to the Syrian judiciary, which permitted the continuation of the joint companies' work while neutralizing the share of the foreign partner."
The Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources is preparing for a judicial action that may arise in the future with these companies, which may say that "they left the country because of the Syrian government's inability to provide security in their areas of operation."
The Ministry is working on preparing its legal file and supporting it with all available documents. "We were exposed to a major war on various levels, but the illegal presence of foreign military forces is what hindered the government's implementation of its obligations to provide security in the areas where the oil fields are located. This point may be the subject of legal controversy in the future. Therefore, the Ministry is working on preparing its legal file and supporting it with all available documents in order to preserve the rights of Syria, especially if international arbitration resorts to cynical manipulations in order to achieve political interests."