Syria slams US oil firm deal with SDF


Syria’s foreign ministry has slammed an agreement between an American oil company and Kurdish forces who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at “stealing” Syria’s crude.

A ministry statement did not name the firm involved in the deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance that seized swathes of north and east Syria from ISIS with US help.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had referred to an oilfields deal between the SDF and a US firm during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday.

Graham said during the hearing that SDF General Commander, Mazloum Abdi, informed him that a deal had been signed with an American company to “modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria”, and asked Pompeo whether the administration was supportive of it.

Pompeo responded during the hearing that “The deal took a little longer … than we had hoped, and now we’re in implementation.”

Asharq Al-Awsat learned on Saturday that Abdi confirmed to Graham that the deal was made by Delta Crescent Energy LLC.

The Syrian foreign ministry statement condemned in the strongest terms the agreement, which it said was aimed at “stealing Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.”

“This agreement is null and void and has no legal basis,” it said.

Currently Syria produces around 60,000 bpd. Before the war that erupted in 2011, the country produced 360,000 bpd.

US President Donald Trump has said that despite a military pullback from northeast Syria, a small number of American forces would remain “where they have oil”.

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