Nicosia, Apr 12: China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China's biggest oil and gas company, recently signed an agreement with the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to build a refinery at Abu Khashab region, in eastern Syria by the end of 2011.
The refinery, which will be the first of such joint refineries planned by China in Syria, is expected to cost about 1.5 billion dollars. The deal was signed together with a framework agreement providing that China will finance a number of joint projects in the oil, telecommunications and agricultural sectors. Syrian Petroleum Minister Sufian Alaw who signed the agreement, said that a joint company would be set up soon by the Homs Refinery Company and CNPC to prepare the necessary feasibility studies and the launch of the project.
The Chinese company will put up 85 per cent of the cost for the refinery, and the Syrian Government the remaining 15 per cent.
Furthermore, the Chinese Government has promised Damascus to study the possibility of granting it a loan of more than 200 million dollars to cover Syria's part of the cost.
Syria's two existing refineries at Homs and Banias, each having a capacity of producing 120,000 barrels of refined products a day, cannot meet local demand which is more than 350,000 barrels a day.