Iran is planning to build a new oil refinery in Syria with a capacity of 140,000 barrels a day, based on a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad and Venezuela, an Iranian official has said.

The three countries are under heavy US embargoes, affecting their ability to export oil to the world. Iran and Venezuela have gravely suffered economically in part due to these sanctions.

“The studies that were conducted found that Syria and its neighbouring countries are in need of petroleum products, therefore a refinery with a capacity of 140,000 barrels was identified next to the two existing Syrian refineries of Homs and Bania,” the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) Jalil Salari told Fars news agency.

“It was included on the agenda to enter the financing and construction phase,” he added.

He pointed out that the Homs refinery, with a capacity of 110,000 barrels, was repaired by Iranian engineers during the Iranian president’s last visit to Syria in May, after which a team from the National Iranian Oil Company was sent to conduct the necessary talks and studies for the work.

Salari said that Iran will be able to export 100,000 barrels per day of its oil to Syria after carrying out these works. He added that these types of projects contribute to increasing the export movement of technical and engineering services and generating income for Iranian technological companies.

“We have appointed a director to supervise the basic repair works of the Homs refinery, and after completing the studies, we will soon enter the contract signing and operation phase.”

The Homs refinery was built to process crude from Syria’s Al-Thayyim, Al-Ashara and Al-Ward fields. Al-Thayyim and Al-Ward oilfields were captured by the Islamic State (IS) group in 2014 before being recaptured by Syrian regime and Iranian forces.

Iran has been militarily involved in the Syria since early in the conflict, sending thousands of fighters there to support the regime on the ground.

Like Russia, Iran maintains significant military and economic interests in war-devastated Syria.

The refinery project signals Tehran’s potential large-scale involvement in reconstruction in Syrian regime held area.

Source » newarab