Middle East / Africa

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Summary | Profile

Country profile: Syria

Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey. note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Climate: mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
Terrain: primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Size: 185180 sq. km total (Land area: 184050 sq. km  Water area: 1130 sq.km)
Population: 19,747,586
Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Government: republic under an authoritarian military-dominated regime
Capital city: Damascus
Legal system: based on a combination of French and Ottoman civil law; Islamic law is used in the family court system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: Syrian pound (SYP)

Country profile

Syria is the only significant crude oil producing economy in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Regional integration, particularly in the energy sector, while increasing, is complicated by the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2005, Syria’s total energy consumption was primarily made up of petroleum, followed by natural gas. Hydroelectricity, the sole source of renewable energy, accounts for a small percentage of total energy consumption.

According to the International Monetary Fund, despite declines in oil production, Syria has begun to recover from a pattern of low economic growth as a result of structural reforms and increased opening of the highly centralized economy. In addition, capital inflows from the large Iraqi refuge community, growth in the non-oil sector, and high global oil prices for its modest quantities of oil exports buoyed the economy in the short-term. However, increasing imports of refined products is expected to offset much of the benefit of record crude prices in the near-term. Overall, oil revenue as a percentage of GDP fell by 10 percentage points to an estimated 4.5 percent between 2003 and 2006.

In May 2004, the U.S. government imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Syria, under the provisions of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, although the direct economic effects have been modest, due to the small volume of U.S. trade and investment with Syria. (U.S. energy companies operating in Syria were not forced to divest their investments in Syria although some have chosen to do so). Increased international pressure on Syria, politically and economically, further deterred foreign investment from the West, particularly in the oil sector, although financial liquidity in the Gulf countries, China and Iran has offset this some.

Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 380,000 bbl/day (2007 est.) 7 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Consumption: 229,000 bbl/day (2007 est.) 4 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Exports: 150,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)  
Imports: 160,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)  
Reserves: 2 billion bbl (2007 est.) 240 billion cu m (1 January 2007 est.)
Major fields:

Syria - recent news

21 Mar 18
Gulfsands Petroleum announces operational update
Gulfsands Petroleum, the oil and gas company with assets in Syria and Colombia, has provided an operational update. The Company has increased its focus on its readiness to return to operations in Syria when the political situation allows and EU sanctions are lifted.

Syria - more news

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