Petroleum Minister: Current Gas Shortage Caused by European Sanctions
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufyan Allaw said that the current shortage of cooking gas is due to the sanctions imposed by the EU on the petroleum sector in Syria, which aim at pressuring the Syrian people and threatening their livelihood.
In an interview with the Syrian TV, Allaw said that his ministry is working to provide the local market's gas and diesel needs soon through new contracts with new countries and exporters, with ten new contracts signed already.
He said that Iran is exerting considerable efforts to help provide diesel and gas, with contracts having been signed for four consecutive monthly shipments, the first of which will arrive in early June, in addition to contracts with Venezuela, with a Venezuelan ship carrying diesel will arrive within a few days, adding that Algeria was also contacted and responded positively.
Allaw said that despite the suspension of oil export from Syria, the Syrian government spent USD 3 billion to purchase petroleum products to meet the market's needs, importing more than 2.2 million tons of diesel and around 500,000 tons of cooking gas since September 2011, adding that no ship carrying diesel or gas has reached Syria since April due to sanctions.
He pointed out that funds are available and have already been paid to companies, but ships are being prevented from reaching Syria by those who impose sanctions and pressure companies, adding that the ministry has contracted a law firm to file lawsuits due to the unethical damage that is inflicted upon the Syrian people with these sanctions.
Allaw went on to note that local gas production covers 60% of local requirements, while the rest is exported, calling on citizens not to panic or listen to rumors and cooperate by not hoarding gas since this material is available, also in lesser amounts due to the sanctions.
He noted that the sanctions include an embargo on purchasing or transporting Syrian oil and prohibiting companies from dealing with Syria or investing in it, in addition to withdrawing experts and staff, suspending funding, and imposing sanctions on Syrian petroleum companies.
Allaw also pointed out to the terrorist attacks targeting the petroleum sector and its pipeline and facilities.