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EU prepares to embargo Syrian oil in line with US

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures.


By Justyna Pawlak: 25 August 2011

European Union governments are likely to embargo imports of Syrian oil next week to ratchet up pressure on president Bashar al-Assad, although new sanctions may be less stringent than those imposed by Washington, EU diplomats said.

A round of discussions was held in Brussels on Tuesday and EU capitals raised no objections to banning Syrian crude imports, in a move similar to a decision by the US earlier this month

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures.

The EU’s 27 governments agreed last Friday to explore new sanctions against Mr Assad in response to his five-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, in which the United Nations says 2,200 civilians have been killed.

“The whole process could be completed by the end of next week if all goes according to plan,” one diplomat said.

An oil embargo would constitute a big step for the EU, because several governments have been reluctant so far to target Mr Assad’s oil industry because of potential commercial damage.

Syria produces about 385,000 barrels of oil a day and exports about 150,000bpd, of which most goes to Europe, particularly the Netherlands, Italy, France and Spain. Britain is heavily invested in Syria, with Anglo-Dutch Shell involved in a joint venture that is the main producing consortium. France’s Total is also a significant producer.

SOURCE ARTICLE

RELATED

EU Urges Syria’s Assad To Quit, Mulls Energy Sanctions: (Wall Street Journal)

Why is Shell still present and operating in Syria?: (RoyalDutchShellPlc.com)

Shell accused of supporting Syrian regime: (Daily Mail)

Extracts from Daily Mail article:

Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of working ‘hand in glove’ with the government in Syria where hundreds of unarmed demonstrators have been killed during protests against the regime.

‘The people of Syria rising up for freedom, but this company has placed itself firmly on the side of corrupt dictators.’

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