DAMASCUS: Syria announced Tuesday it has found a promising gas field in the central governorate of Homs, as Human Rights Watch urged the European Union to freeze the assets of Syria’s state oil and gas companies. “The first wells were drilled at Qara in Homs governorate and the flow rate is 400,000 cubic meters per day.” Oil Minister Sufian Allawi was quoted as saying by state news agency SANA.
“This discovery opens new perspectives in the region of Qalamun and the Syrian company will continue its drilling,” said Allawi, adding that the field was located in the Basin of Dau.
He said Syria’s natural gas production has reached 30.29 million cubic meters per day, up by 3 million cubic meters since last year. Oil production in Syria is about 380,000 barrels per day, Allawi added.
Syria has partially replaced oil with gas as fuel in its power stations on falling crude production.
The nation’s gas reserves, estimated at 284 billion cubic meters, may increase after new discoveries in many parts of the country, Allawi added.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said the European Union should freeze the assets of the Syrian National Oil Company, Syrian National Gas Company and the Central Bank of Syria until Damascus “ends gross human rights abuses against its citizens.”
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries to stop buying Syrian oil and gas in a bid to pressure President Bashar Assad to end a brutal crackdown on protesters.
“We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history,” Clinton said.
In a March 2010 report, the International Monetary Fund estimated that the Syrian government earns approximately 2.1 billion euros ($3 billion) from oil and gas revenues per year.
Most of Syria’s oil is used domestically, but it exports approximately 150,000 barrels per day. Around 95 percent of that goes to Europe, primarily to Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany.
[The next day, Obama issued the following Executive Order, which amounted to a declaration of economic war against Syria, with the clear intention of preventing Bashar Assad from harvesting any of the newly discovered Syrian hydrocarbon wealth…Clearly an act of aggression.]
August 18, 2011
Executive Order 13582– Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the Government of Syria’s continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria and with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, and Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011, hereby order:
Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Syria are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
(b) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(ii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
Sec. 2. The following are prohibited:
(a) new investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located;
(b) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;
(c) the importation into the United States of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin;
(d) any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin; and
(e) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.
Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 5. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
Sec. 6. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 7. Nothing in sections 1 or 2 of this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.
Sec. 8. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;
(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and
(d) the term “Government of Syria” means the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities.
Sec. 9. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 11. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 12. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on August 18, 2011.