EU Imposes New Sanctions on the Syrian Oil Sector

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The EU reinforced its sanctions against the Syrian oil sector today when it added several governmental oil trade and oil-field discovery entities to its sanctions list. The new sanctions will target the General Petroleum Corporation (GPC) and Syria Trading Oil (Sytrol), in addition to 9 more entities and 12 regime figures. Royal Dutch Shell announced it will pull out of the GPC joint venture Al Furat Petroleum Company, and added it will suspend all its activities in Syria. On the other hand, France’s Total SA oil, which produces three times more oil than Shell used to in Syria, continues to operate in a joint venture with Syrian Petroleum Co (SPC). SPC, an affiliate of GPC and Sytrol, is the last major Syrian company that needs to be targeted to efficiently cut off Syria’s dwindling supply of foreign reserves used to buy arms and finance mercenaries. Many reports of the regime’s inability to make due on payments to oil companies have already surfaced.

The EU has imposed sanctions on the Syrian oil sector in September, but those were only partially applied due to pressures from Italy. The new European sanctions come within the framework of new joint-efforts and coordination between the EU, US, and Arab League, to pressure the Assad regime.