MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – Oil production in war-torn Syria has plummeted by 95 percent since the conflict started in the country in the spring of 2011, Oil Minister Suleiman Abbas said on Wednesday.
“Crude oil production fell to 20,000 barrels a day compared with 380,000 bbl/d that Syria produced daily before mid-March 2011,” Abbas said in an interview with Syrian El Baas newspaper.
The minister blamed “the terror of [rebel] armed formations and an oil embargo on Syria" for slashing domestic crude oil output.
Syria's natural gas output fell by half over the same period, he said.
“The crisis condition which Syria is living through forces the country to import large amounts of oil and oil products,” he said, adding the Syrian government had to spend $500 million monthly on these imports.
Syria has been locked in an increasingly bloody civil war since demonstrations broke out against the Assad regime in March 2011. According to UN estimates, at least 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict.