Contracts of $70 mln Signed by SyriaMod

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Head of the Exporters Association in Syria, Muhammad al –Sawah, stated that preliminary indications suggest the signing of sale contracts estimated at 70 million dollars with the closing of the exhibition.

“Dozens of contracts were signed with importers for the supply of clothing manufactured in Syria to the various markets, the Arab region and Iran, pointing out that the participants in the exhibition gathered together by a common desire to raise the name of the Syrian industry,” Mr. al –Sawah said in a statement to local press.

The Head of the Exporters Association noted that the broad participation in the exhibition, both from exhibitors or visitors proved that the cycle of production is going on in Syria despite the difficult circumstances in Syria. He underlined that the success of the Fair was not possible without the hefty support provided by the government for the textile sector.

 Mr. al –Sawah confirmed the Syrian Industrialists’ insistence to work and restore life to their factories.

The second Syrian Clothing Kids Fair of Allanjeri “Syria Mod” was held in Beirut from 1 to 3 Feb with the participation of about 100 industrial Syrian specialized companies. The event was organized by the Syrian Exporters Association of Clothing and Textiles in cooperation with the Development and Promotion of Exports Association and the Syrian Exporters Federation.

Invitations were addressed to some 300 dealers from the Gulf region, Iran, Tunisia, Iraq and other countries.

Sh. el -Khatib

Industry Minister: Developing a Strategy to Enhance National Industry

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Industry Minister Kamal Eddine Toamah has confirmed the importance of developing a strategy for the activities of the Center of Tests and Industrial Research. The goal of this step is to focuse on the best investment for the human and material potentials so as to enhance the competitiveness of the national industry in the domestic and foreign markets.

During a visit he paid to the departments and laboratories of the center, the minister explained that the performance of the center is below ambition due to lack of cadres despite having modern and advanced equipment, stressing the need to activate the work to the benefit of industry in both public and private sectors as well as providing services to other economic sectors.

Mr. Toamah pointed to the importance of expanding areas of cooperation of the center with Syrian universities, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Scientific Research Center for acquiring expertise in the development of work in order to support the work of companies and industrial enterprises, calling for the redistribution of financial allocations to the activities of the feasibility for the benefit of industrial production.

He expressed his ministry's readiness to support and help the center to carry out its functions and facilitate its work by issuing the necessary decisions.

For his part, the Director of the Center, Nabil Aoun, reviewed the center's activities conducted in key industrial sectors, pointing to the importance of supporting the cadres’ center and providing the necessary financial support to play its role in the development of the Syrian industry.

Sh. Kh.

With the Participation of 100 Syrian Texture Companies ... Syria Moda 2 Exhibition Opened in Beirut

BEIERUT, (ST) - With the participation of about 100 Syrian specialized industrial companies, the Activities of the second Syrian clothing kids exhibition of Allanjeri Syria Moda 2 began yesterday at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut. The event has been organized by the Association of Syrian Exporters of clothing and Textiles in cooperation with the development and promotion of exports and the Federation of Syrian Exporters .

The head of the Development Authority and Export Promotion, Ihab Ismandr,  in a statement to reporters during the opening ceremony, confirmed the Authority 's keenness to provide all facilities and necessary support for the establishment of specialized exhibitions both inside and outside Syria in order to open sale windows in international markets ..

“The role of the body in such exhibitions comes as a supplement and encouraging for exhibitors and participants by through providing 55 percent of the total participation and providing the necessary support to them , pointing to the importance of the current session of the exhibition after the success of the previous session in achieving positive resulted in of signing contracts estimated at 50 million dollars,”  Mr. Ismandr pointed out.

 Invitations were addressed to 200 dealers to visit the exhibition and invitations were also addressed to some 300 dealers from the Gulf region, Iran, Tunisia, Iraq and other countries.

The head of the Exporters Federation in Syria, Muhammad al - Sawah underlined the support provided by the Syrian government for the textile industry that will help the sector to overcome the problems and achieve real leaps forward , especially with the improvement in the current circumstances in Syria, pointing out that the Syria Moda Exhibition is a living example of the ability of the Syrian textile industry to overcome all obstacles and maintain the reputation of this sector regionally and globally.

Sharif el -Khatib

‏CBS: Intervention Sessions Continue

DAMASCUS, (ST) -The Governor of the Central Bank of Syria (CBS), Dr. Adib Maiyaleh, has confirmed that the intervention policy aimed at keeping the price of the Syrian pound and this policy will not stop as long as the market needs.

During a meeting held recently with the Syrian exchange institutions, the Governor of the Bank discussed the status of the exchange rate and showed the reality of supply and demand for foreign exchange.

Sessions of intervention by the central bank, the Governor added, are continuous and the bank has no intention to stop them especially such a policy has proved effectiveness in maintaining the stability of the exchange rate.

“This policy has also contributed to enhance the credibility of the central bank at the citizen who wasn’t driven behind speculations to undermine the strength of the lira,” Dr. Maiyaleh explained.

He also clarified that the central bank is continuous in funding imports by banks which negates the need to resort to the black market to buy foreign exchange.

The exchange institutions showed that there is a qualitative stability in the currency market now where the supply and demand of foreign exchange are within the normal limits and any change may happen in the exchange rate is an  exceptional jump and the evidence can be seen through the return of the direct price to its equilibrium levels below150 sp.

Sharif el -Khatib

379 Assaults on Oil Sector and Losses Hit $19.5 Billion - GPC's Director

Oil sector, which is one of the main pillars of the national economy, has come under hundreds of assaults by the armed terrorist groups since the outset of the crisis in the country.

The number of assaults that caused material damages to the sector reached up to 379 and the total losses hit USD19.5 billion till the end of 2013, Director of the General Petroleum Corporation Eng. Ali Abbas told the Syriatimes e-newspaper's reporter.

He clarified that the production has gradually slumped and reached just 15.000 barrels –of light oil- per day, as the production of heavy oil has been completely stopped in March 2013 due to incessant assaults on oil pipelines stretching from al-Rmilan fields in Hassaka province to Homs and Banias refineries.

Prior to the crisis, the production reached up to 386.000 barrels a day (40% light and 60% heavy) where around 67% of the production (250.000 barrels) was used to meet refinery feedstock while the rest (127.000 barrels) was exported, according to a report published by the Tishreen newspaper on November 12,2013.

 In September 2011, the production nosedived to 280.000 following the US and European sanctions on the oil sector.

All foreign companies working in oil sector –except some Chinese ones [SSKOC and OPC]- withdrew then.

Oil production slips to 96%

In 26 months, Syria's oil production has slipped by 96% (from 386.000 barrels per day to just 15.000).

The sharp plummet in production of oil and losses have come from the international decisions, the seizure of most oil fields by the armed terrorist groups and acts of vandalism as well as opening the Turkish markets for the stolen oil.

It caused a hike in prices of fuel and all products that depend on oil and gas by more than 200%, according to media reports.

Moreover, the assaults against the gas pipelines, particularly the Arab gas pipeline in al-Betareyeh area outside Damascus, plunged the country into sporadic darkness.

"The Arab gas pipeline, which came under 7 assaults, conveys natural gas to power plants in Damascus and the southern area. The plants comprise Tishreen, al-Nasereyeh and Der Ali," Eng. Abbas said.

He added that the assaults target citizens while all service sectors are being affected by power outage. 

How oil has been stolen

The story of the systematic attack on oil sector started in 2011 by sabotaging oil pumps -costing the government millions- to steal copper pieces, at the cost 15-20 thousand Syrian pound, from the pumps in order to sell them, according to a well-informed source at Al-Furat Petroleum Company (AFPC).

All types of oil rigs were stolen in the first stage.

"High-voltage cables, telephones, computers, oil tanks, devices and 160 cars for AFPC were stolen," the AFPC source said.

While in the second stage, oil was the target for thieves nationwide as violence escalated and insecurity spread in the areas of oil fields.

Oil theft began with punching holes in pipelines in different ways. The number of holes reached up to 1000, so the competent authorities stopped conveying oil by pipelines to refineries and put production in tanks which were also stolen later by thieves.

Thus, oil wells were the last target for the thieves to get oil in primitive and dangerous methods that caused blazing in some wells plus environmental pollution in the areas and leaving many thieves charred.  

"The bandits put crude oil into tankers, then set fire around it until the fuel begins to turn into vapor that passes through a metal hose. The hose is doused then with cold water to condense the vapor whereby  gasoline, kerosene or diesel is produced," Eng. Abbas said.

Official statistics

As many as 20 wells were set ablaze and 300 persons burned to death in Der Ezoour province, according to the GPC's statistics.

Eng. Abbas declared that at least 128 oil wells have been pillaged.

"The quantity of stolen oil is estimated to the tune of 40.000 barrels a day, besides stealing 16.000 tons of cooking gas," he said, noting that the bandits have been looking for high productive gushing fields and good quality oil.

Actually, the country lost revenues of oil exports and imported oil in 2013, worth $1.7 billion, according to the Tishreen newspaper.

In 2010, Syria's revenues from oil exports were $3 billion.

Oil production makes up 24% of the GDP, 25% of the budget's revenues and 40% of export revenues, according to a report released in 2012 by the National Competitiveness Observatory (NCO).

Gas

In terms of gas production, it was reported that production declined from 28 million cubic meters to 17m cm (around 45%) in the wake of incessant attacks on gas pipelines in the provinces of Der Ezzour and Hassaka and the stoppage of production in factories of Der Ezzour and al-Jebseh in December 2012.

By the beginning of August 2013, al-Jebseh factory was re-operated at 50% of its capacity but no further details were reported in this regard. 

The fact that most oil fields in Der Ezzour, Reqaa and al-Hassaka provinces have become in the hands of the armed terrorist groups was the main factor in the collapse of oil and gas production.  

Pollution and diseases   

An engineer in Der Ezzour province was quoted on the Tishreen newspaper as saying that: gunmen, people in the areas and bandits are investing the Syrian oil." They extract the oil from wells and then put it inside holes to be conveyed to local-made refineries in Aleppo, Raqqa, Hassaka and Der Ezzour provinces."

He stressed that refining oil in a bad method causes pollution and diseases to citizens and livestock there. 

The new investors of oil do not care about the consequences of refining oil in a bad way because each one could gain Syp 2 million a day from selling oil. They prefer to live two years ostentatiously to spend 20 years in poverty.

There is a daily quarrel over the ownership of the wells and there are around 200 crimes that have been documented so far.    

Oil theft was supported by the EU foreign ministers' decision issued on April 22nd, 2013 that opens the door to selling the Syrian oil  to Europe if authorized by the so-called "National Coalition".

The decision, which is in breach of the international law and UN charter, has encouraged the terrorist groups to go ahead with stealing oil to deplete one of the main pillars of the national economy (oil production).

Rehabilitation cost Syp. 60 bn'

The rehabilitation of oil companies will cost primarily Syp 60 billion, according to Eng. Abbas, who added that SYP 1.37 bn has been earmarked in the 2014 budget to carry out the contingency plan when security conditions become better.

He made it clear that the GPC has drawn up three plans to deal with oil sector according to priorities.  

The plans incorporate;  contingency plan which will take up a year, short-term plan for 3 years and long-term one for 5 years.

 The problem is that pollution and diseases resulting from wrong ways in refining crude oil in the eastern provinces will last for tens of years.

'Amrit' contract

On December 25th, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry signed an offshore oil and gas drilling contract with the Russian 'Soyuzneftegas' company.

Under the 'Amrit' contract, surveys for oil and gas drilling are to be carried out in a total area of 2190 square kilometers stretching from south Tartous shore to Banias city.

The survey and the drilling of the first well will take up 4 years, Eng. Abbas said.

In 2010, The US Geological Survey released a report predicting that the Levantine basin, located among occupied Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, contains around 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

Reported by: Basma Qaddour