Q:

Is there oil in Syria?

A:

Quick Answer

Syria does have an oil industry. Following the beginning of conflicts there in March 2011, the industry's oil production declined significantly.

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Full Answer

Prior to the beginning of conflict in Syria in March 2011, the country was the Eastern Mediterranean's leading oil producer. In an attempt to combat the conflict, Western governments imposed sanctions, including blocking oil exports.

Western-led sanctions also hindered transportation and production within the country. The country's oil production once accounted for 25 percent of its government revenues, but production has fallen to a fraction of its pre-conflict output since conflicts began. Between March 2011 and January 2014, Syria experienced an estimated $20 billion revenue loss because of its low oil production and exports.

As of 2015, the exploration and production of oil within Syria was delayed indefinitely. This had an effect on international oil prices, which rose as a result. In addition, the Syrian government struggles to deliver oil to its citizens. In 2013, the European Union agreed to allow oil exports from Syria, providing they come from opposition groups. Opposition groups have poor access to the country's oil infrastructure, causing a gridlock. Despite EU sanctions, Syria did establish a trade agreement with Russia in June 2013.

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