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EU lifts Syria oil sanctions

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The European Union (EU) has lifted its oil embargo on Syria, in an attempt to bolster economic support for rebel forces seeking to overturn the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The decision marks the first relaxing of EU sanctions since the beginning of the two year rebellion. According to a EU statement, it will enable crude exports from rebel held territory, the import of oil and gas production technology, and investments in the Syrian oil industry. All export and investment initiatives are to be taken in coordination with the leaders of the Syrian opposition.

It has been hinted that the move is in part an attempt to lay the legal groundwork to get investments and crude flowing rapidly as soon as security improves on the ground; reestablishing the Syrian oil industry will be a top priority for the Syrian interim government.

Although Syria has never been one of the world’s largest oil exporters, the sector played a key role in its economy, oil revenues accounting for approximately one quarter of the national budget. Syria’s oil industry has faltered since the beginning of the conflict, as rebels have captured many of the country’s oil fields. This has deprived the Assad government of revenue to fund its ongoing war against opposition rebels.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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