Syria has three natural sources of energy: oil, gas, and hydropower. The hydroelectric plants, mainly on the Euphrates Dam at Tabaqa, generate 42 percent of Syria’s electric power. There are smaller hydroelectric plants along other rivers. 58 percent of Syrian electricity comes from fossil fuel. Of Syria’s overall energy consumption, 98.4 percent is provided by fossil fuel energy (World Bank).
The country faces an annual growth in demand for electricity of around 9 percent. What is more, its oil reserves are fast depleting. Syria hopes to find new oil and gas reserves. The government has encouraged the search for new oil fields along the Iraqi and Turkish borders.
Syria’s rate of oil production has been decreasing steadily, from a peak close to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 1995 down to approximately 334,242 bpd in 2011 and (due to international sanctions) even further down to 182,455 bpd in 2012. From a net oil exporter, Syria has become a net importer of fuel (US Energy Information Administration, EIA).
While Syria exported roughly 150,000 bpd in 2007 (at approximately USD 65 a barrel in 2008), exports declined sharply and reached 14,242 bpd in 2011. In 2012 (due to international sanctions), export figures turned negative, amounting to a net import of 75,000 bpd (EIA).
Syria produced 277.9 billion cubic feet of gas in 2011 (EIA), with estimated reserves around 8.5 trillion cubic feet (240 km3). Syria intends to place greater emphasis on natural gas and needs to develop the infrastructure required to extract and distribute gas. The founding of Syria’s national gas company in February 2003 underlines the increasing importance of this sector to the domestic authorities.
In this context, in 2004 and 2005, the European Investment Bank (EIB) extended two loans with a total value of EUR 400 million to build natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants located near Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates River and near Damascus (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), Financing operations in Syria, EIB – 02/2008).
Diesel – like other consumer goods – used to be heavily subsidized for Syrian consumers. Recently, however, following tax reforms, the subsidies decreased considerably and the prices increased accordingly, although the subsidy has not altogether ceased. The authorities replaced the universal diesel coupons with targeted cash transfers to compensate vulnerable households (source: IMF Country report 10/86). Diesel vehicles account for 31 percent of the total number of vehicles (source: State of the Environment, UNED 2009).
Oil and gas statistics
• Oil production: 182,455 bbl/day (2012)
• Oil consumption: 257,647 bbl/day (2012 )
• Oil exports: -75.192 bbl/day (2012)
• Oil proved reserves: 2.5 billion bbl (2013 est.)
• Natural gas production: 277.9 billion cubic feet (2011)
• Natural gas consumption: 286.6 billion cubic feet (2011)
• Natural gas proved reserves: 8.5 trillion cubuc feet (2013 est.)