Skip to comments.Syria's energy: Mediterranean gas may be the prize
Posted on 04/24/2013 7:34:19 PM PDT by haffast
BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 24 (UPI) -- Syria's top rebel commander is reportedly seeking Western support for taking over oil fields held by Islamist factions but the real conflict over Syria's energy resources is likely to be vast natural gas fields under the eastern Mediterranean.
Whatever is under the seabed in Syrian waters remains undiscovered but in the wake of major strikes by Israel and Cyprus, and Lebanon supposedly sitting on similar prizes, it's a pretty good bet Syria has significant gas holdings.
There seems little doubt that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime will eventually be displaced as rebel forces, disunited but backed by most of the Arab powers and, up to a point, the United States and Europe, make steady gains in a war now in its third year.
Rebels seized Syrian oil fields in northeastern Deir al-Zor province near the Iraqi border in late 2012.
This year they've pushed into resource-rich Hassaka and Raqqa, securing control of most of Syria's oil reserves. These total 2.5 billion barrels, a modest tally, although Damascus was earning around $4 billion a year from exports before the anti-Assad uprising began.
Many of the fields are controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra, the most formidable of the Islamist factions with links to al-Qaida.
Gen. Selim Idriss, chief of staff of the Supreme Military Command which supposedly runs dozens of rebel factions, wants to form a 30,000-man secular force to secure the oil fields and other key economic sectors to keep them out of Islamist hands.
He wants the West to provide the $30 million-$40 million a month he says he'd need to do that.
There's another more important element in this unfolding energy contest in the Middle East and the East Mediterranean.
(Excerpt) Read more at upi.com ...
Let'$ get that ga$ flowin' boy$$$$!! (Israel,Leviathan, Tamar)
"One of its primary objectives in backing the Syrian rebels has been to ensure that the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas project signed in 2011 even as the uprising against Assad gathered momentum never gets off the ground."
Work on the construction of the new Iran-Iraq-Syria gas line was resumed on 19 November 2012.
The pipeline, with a length of 1500 km, will supply Damascus with gas from the Assaluyeh refinery in Iran. It will later be extended across the Mediterranean to Europe. The final cost of this investment will amount to $ 10 billion.
The project, concluded on 25 June 2011, had been frozen because of the war in Syria. It started up again following the reelection of President Barack Obama and the resumption of the secret US-Iran negotiations.
"The U.S. government said plans by Iran to build a natural gas pipeline through Iraq to Syria may run into problems with economic sanctions."
"Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, brushed off the report, saying Washington has seen similar reports on the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline "six or seven or 10 or 15 times before, and it never seems to materialize."
"I would simply say that the construction of any kind of an Iranian-Syrian pipeline could potentially raise sanctions issues under U.S. law on either Iran or Syria, including for international entities who might decide to participate in it either by financing or by construction," she said.
...in the wake of major strikes by Israel and Cyprus, and Lebanon supposedly sitting on similar prizes, it's a pretty good bet Syria has significant gas holdings.
Thanks for the ping.
Ernest and others. Do have a great upcoming day. Time to attempt sleep.