Syria asks Russia to rebuild its energy sector

A man works at a makeshift oil refinery site in al-Mansoura village in Raqqa's countryside, Syria © Hamid Khatib
Russian companies have received requests from Syria to help rebuild the country’s oil and gas industry, said Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak on Friday.

According to Novak, Lukoil, Gazprom Neft and Zarubezhneft are among the companies invited as they have experience of work abroad and can invest in projects.

"Syria has asked our companies to participate in rebuilding oil and gas projects, infrastructure development, and pipeline construction,” Novak told journalists, adding the companies are currently studying the proposals.

Syria has already asked Russia to participate in exploring and developing oil and gas on land and offshore. Russia was invited to upgrade the Baniyas refinery and construct a refinery with Iran and Venezuela.

Damascus and Moscow have signed nearly a billion dollars worth of agreements to rebuild the war-torn country, said Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Halqi. That followed Syrian President Bashar Assad’s invitation to Russian companies to participate in rebuilding homes in Syria.

The two countries intend to develop energy, trade, finance and other sectors of the economy.

READ MORE: Syrians want Russian business help to rebuild country – Assad

Halqi also said Russian companies will be given priority in rebuilding country following the civil war. According to him, many Russian companies are already operating in Syria, including those engaged in offshore exploration.

In February, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller discussed with the Syrian ambassador prospects for cooperation after the country manages to stabilize from its civil war. Russian businesses have energy contracts in Syria that were signed before the crisis worth $1.6 billion.