Business is business

With the war of words abating between Washington and Damascus, US oil firms have signed contracts for oil and natural gas exploration in Syria.

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By  John Irish Published  June 3, 2003

Two American companies are set to begin exploration projects in Syria after announcing yesterday (June 02) an agreement worth US$17 million to explore oil and natural gas sites in northeastern Syria.

According to the Syrian News Agency, the Houston-based Devon Energy Corporation and Gulfsands Petroleum Ltd have pledged to spend over $15 million during the next four years with a view to increasing the area’s current 120,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The American companies are hoping that this will be an important step in cementing their position in the region, particularly when contracts in Iraq are currently under review.

“The Syrian partnership focuses on exploration around areas with proven reserves,” said James T. Hackett, president and chief operating officer of Devon. “It could, over time, expand to include cooperation between Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC) and Devon on additional development and production enhancement projects in the area."

The agreement, which covers an area of more than 11,000 square kilometres, will see the two US firms working alongside the Syrian government and the (SPC). Devon will operate the project with 80% interest while Gulfsands holds 20%.

Under the terms of the agreement, both companies must pay $1 million as well as conducting comprehensive geologic and geological studies, acquire seismic data and drill four exploration wells.

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