About Significance of Russian President’s Visit to Syria

Moscow, May 13 (ITAR-TASS). Recent years successes of Russian foreign policy open new opportunities for Russian business that by implementing economic projects facilitates forming of favorable conditions for moving forward politically, too. This opinion expressed chairman of the Council of the Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists Yuri Shafranik in his interview to ITAR-TASS commenting on the results of the first in Russian history visit to Syria of the country’s leader.

Syria is one of key countries of the Middle East. The role of Syria is as great as its own problems connected with any of the conflicts in the Middle East. To a significant extent they determined official visit of Syria’s president Bashir Assad to Russia in January 2005 that among other things gave an impulse to establishment of economic contacts between our countries”, noted Yuri Shafranik. As a result, he continued, “soon despite the exodus from Syrian territory of many Western companies and fear of others to take part in projects on its territory Russian companies Stroytransgas, Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya company (TMK), Tatneft and our group “SoyuzNeftegaz” started to work there.

“We have taken in this country two blocks – 12-th and 26-th in South East and North East for exploration and development of oil fields and if in the 12-th the investments were not successful (oil has been discovered but not in commercial volumes), in the 26-th we succeeded in discovering the biggest oil field among all that have been discovered in Syria for the last 15 years”, - explained Shafranik. Now there are 17 producing wells are operated there, production field infrastructure is fully built and volume of production has already reached 1 million t a year.

With being the chairman of the Council of the Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists he is “not less proud” of Stroytransgas’ or Tatneft’s successes in this country. It is not less important, believes the oil man, that we all ‘moved into action’ as the situation around Syria was very complicated and explosive, therefore I believe that to change it for the better helped both Russian politics as well as Russian business”. In connection with this he suggested to consider Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Damask as “strengthening of our positions in this country and opening of new opportunities for everybody who wants and is able to work there. Moreover investment climate is good in Syria”.

“We really experienced that Syrians treat with respect the business that facilitates their economic rise”, - noted Y.Shafranik.

He also reminded that “being a neighbor of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel and lying close to Egypt Syria plays and will be playing a very important role in developing transportation arteries of the region”. “And with the situation in Iraq improving I am sure it will develop big projects in energy and many other spheres. It would not be a sin for Russia having good political and economic reputation in both countries to take part in these projects”, stressed Yuri Shafranik.