Syrian authorities, Kurds talk about plans for oil commerce

Representatives of the Qatirji firm and leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) met within the Tabqa Civil Council — affiliated with the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria — in early August to debate the potential for growing oil shipments that the corporate, which is listed on the US sanctions listing, transports between government-held areas and people managed by the SDF in northeast Syria. Qatirji demanded to boost the weekly variety of tankers to 400, from 250, whereas the SDF demanded that the Syrian authorities present it with 100 tankers of diesel and gasoline, as a substitute of 50.

Another assembly is scheduled between Qatirji representatives and leaders of the Raqqa Military Council subsequent week within the metropolis of Raqqa, to debate a mechanism to guard the tankers from being focused with explosive gadgets by unknown people within the space.

This comes because the SDF prevented Qatarji’s oil tankers from coming into its areas of management Aug. 7, after the federal government violated an understanding reached between the 2 events earlier, whereby the SDF would provide the federal government with 200 crude oil tankers from the fields of Rmelan and Deir ez-Zor, in change for offering the SDF with 50 tankers loaded with gasoline and diesel. Qatirji additionally kept away from paying monetary dues associated to earlier oil shipments.

A supply within the Autonomous Administration advised Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity, “After several rounds of negotiations and meetings between Qatirji representatives and SDF leaders, an agreement was reached [in early August] to provide the regime-controlled areas with 400 oil tankers per week through al-Hawra and al-Tabqa crossings from the Rmelan and al-Shaddadi fields. Qatirji would transport them to the Homs refinery, at a price ranging between $3,240 and $3,960 per tanker, which contains 180 barrels of oil. Thus, the price of one barrel will range between $18 and $22, depending on the quality of the oil. Qatirji would also supply our areas with 100 tankers of refined diesel and gasoline weekly.”

The supply added, “Despite the repeated disputes between the regime and the SDF, and regardless of Qatirji failing to pay its dues, the two parties agreed to increase the amount of oil that will be exported to the regime-controlled areas, as a result of Russian pressures to alleviate the fuel crisis that the regime-controlled areas suffer from. Qatirji pledged to pay all the dues through installments that will be added to the amount that will be paid for the tankers that will be exported. Russia will accompany Qatirji to protect the trucks from being targeted by Islamic State cells, and ensure that the trucks are transported without delay or problems.”

Wael Olwan, an Istanbul-based researcher on the Jusoor Center for Studies, advised Al-Monitor, “As a result of the pressure that it exerted on the Syrian regime, Russia granted Qatirji the privilege of controlling the oil transportation without bringing in another partner or even involving the regime in this process. Qatirji became a direct partner of the Khmeimim base at the beginning of July. Qatirji mainly transports fuel from SDF-controlled areas through the Tall Adas station in al-Malikiyah to refineries on the Syrian coast, and brings refined fuel to SDF-controlled areas. Forces from the Syrian regime will accompany these trucks in return for financial fees paid by Qatirji.”

He famous, “Russia has awarded the Qatirji-affiliated Arfada company a five-year investment contract for al-Taym and al-Ward oil wells in Deir ez-Zor, each of which produces 2,500 barrels per day. The regime allowed Arfada last year to establish two oil refineries in partnership with the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources in Damascus, which owns 15% of the partnership shares, while the Lebanese Sallizar shipping company owns 5%, and Arfada owns 80%.”

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the United States has imposed a sequence of sanctions on the Syrian authorities, probably the most outstanding of which was the Caesar Act. However, the SDF, a US ally, violates the Caesar Act and provides the Syrian authorities with oil and fuel, producing revenues estimated at $120 million.

A report issued by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) in July monitored such operations for the reason that issuance of the Caesar Act and its entry into drive in June 2020 till July 2021. The quantity of smuggled oil in December 2020 alone signifies that the Syrian authorities was equipped by the SDF with 1,500 oil tankers, with a capability of 40,000 liters every, approximately 500,000 barrels of oil per thirty days, which is equal to six million barrels per yr. Since the worth of a barrel of oil is $20, the SDF makes about $120 million yearly from promoting oil to the federal government. Smuggling operations have an effect on nearly 50% of the oil produced within the SDF-controlled areas, estimated at 11 million barrels of oil yearly.

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