Source AP ©

Syria signs contract with Iran, Venezuela and Malaysia for construction of oil refinery

Syria made a US$2.6 billion (1.8 billion EUR) deal with Iran, Venezuela and Malaysia for the construction of an oil refinery in central Syria that will have a daily capacity of 140,000 barrels.

The ministry said the refinery will be built in Furoqlos, near the northern city of Homs, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Under the agreement, Venezuela will get 33 percent of the revenues, while Iran and Malaysia will each receive 26 percent, with Syria getting the remaining 15 percent - in accord with each side's funding of the refinery.

The refinery will be provided with 42,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Venezuela; Iran will give 28,000 barrels and Syria 7,000 barrel a day for at least 25 years. Malaysia will provide the refinery with machinery, the ministry said in a statement.

The contract was signed by representatives of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, NIORDC, Syria's Oil Ministry, Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA and the Malaysia Oil company.

Venezuela has strengthened its relations with Iran and Syria under President Hugo Chavez, who views the Middle East nations as important allies in his efforts to build what he calls "a multi-polar world," no longer dominated by the United States.

Syria's production of oil has declined over the past decade. In 1996, it peaked at 590,000 barrels a day, then dropped to some 365,000 barrels a day in 2005.