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A Syrian government spokesperson said Syria’s General Petroleum Company and Russian oil and gas company SoyuzNefteGaz will explore an area of 2,190 square kilometres (850 square miles) in the Mediterranean.
The Russian company will be in charge of financing all costs, tentatively estimated at $90 million.
“During the first stage, which envisages research and initial prospecting, the contractor [SoyuzNefteGaz] is expected to invest 15 million,” the spokeswoman said. “Then, during test drilling, the contractor will further invest $75 million to make at least one test well.”
She said that if test drilling confirms that the site has commercial-scale reserves of oil and gas, SoyuzNefteGaz would build the necessary infrastructure to subsequently develop the field and extract oil.
SoyuzNefteGaz was established in 2000 to enhance economic cooperation with former Soviet countries, the Middle East and North Africa. It is headed by former Russian Energy Minister Yury Shafranik.
Russia and China have been the staunchest allies of the Syrian government throughout the crisis that has split the international community.
The raging Syrian civil war, now in its third year, has cost more than 100,000 lives and forced millions to flee their homes.