Green Room

Syrian oil industry falling to rebels

posted at 1:58 pm on April 6, 2013 by

This may be the beginning of the end for Bashar al-Assad.  If he can’t keep revenues flowing, his forces may soon melt away, leaving him at the mercy of the rebels who are gaining control of his oil fields:

Syria’s vital oil industry is breaking down as rebels capture many of the country’s oil fields, with wells aflame and looters scooping up crude, depriving the government of much needed cash and fuel for its war machine against the uprising.

Exports have ground practically to a standstill, and the regime of President Bashar Assad has been forced to import refined fuel supplies to keep up with demand amid shortages and rising prices. In a sign of the increasing desperation, the oil minister met last week with Chinese and Russian officials to discuss exploring for gas and oil in the Mediterranean off Syria’s coast.

China and Russia would like to keep their client Assad in place, but it’s difficult to imagine that they will be sanguine about investing a lot of capital into his regime at this point.  Without that kind of assistance, though, China and Russia should start planning for the post-Assad future:

Since late 2012, rebels have been seizing fields in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, one of two main centers of oil production. Most recently, they captured the Jbeysa oil field, one of the country’s largest, after three days of fighting in February.

At the same time, overburdened government troops have had to withdraw from parts of the other main oil center — the northeastern Kurdish-majority region of Hassakeh, where they have handed control of the oil fields to the pro-government militia of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD. Production from some of those fields still goes to the Syrian government, but the fields are more vulnerable to theft and smuggling.

When the money runs out … will Assad run out of Syria?

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Two more weeks.

Again.

BKeyser on April 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Syria is more of a country where pipelines go through it for loading tankers in the Med with oil from other countries.

Kermit on April 6, 2013 at 5:23 PM

The dominoes just keep falling. It won’t be but a few short years and radical Islamism will take hold of the middle east, and then what? Uh-huh.

HiJack on April 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Assad is not a lone leader, this is not about overthrowing a tyrant. His splinter Shia 12ver group, the Alawites are under Americas Sunni freedom fighting friends malicious eye as well. They won’t leave Assad. This is Sunni/Shia power wrestling. You are on the side of Al-Q and Sunni supremacist Jihad students because of your love and allegiance to Saudi and the Gulf states. And at the end of the day the whole lot of them are the Slaves of Allah and no friends of yours. But that can’t be admitted because it is sensitive to a lot of influential people who aren’t Muslim but make handsome profits from them.

BL@KBIRD on April 6, 2013 at 7:36 PM

It seems to me that it would be desirable for an Israel that intends to attack Iran to have Assad fall and have Hezbollah in Lebanon cut off from Iranian resupply before Israel strikes. The Lebanese might even feel bold enough to try to reduce Hezbollah’s power themselves. In any case, if Hezbollah launches its rocket assault against Israel, and Israel has to strike back to stop the attacks, not having to worry about what Syria is going to do or what Syria is letting Hezbollah have would be a tactical advantage for Israel.

KW64 on April 6, 2013 at 8:22 PM

I’ve been saying this for awhile, but…the best thing for us would be if this war drags on for a decade or more.

It’s not in our interests for either side to win.

blue13326 on April 6, 2013 at 10:18 PM

It’s not in our interests for either side to win.

blue13326 on April 6, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Agreed.

lorien1973 on April 7, 2013 at 12:32 PM

China and Russia would like to keep their client Assad in place, but it’s difficult to imagine that they will be sanguine about investing a lot of capital into his regime at this point. Without that kind of assistance, though, China and Russia should start planning for the post-Assad future

…why?…do they have porous borders?

KOOLAID2 on April 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM