Shell to Cease Operations in Syria

'Will cease its activities in compliance with sanctions.'

Royal Dutch Shell will stop operations in Syria because of ongoing unrest there and in line with EU sanctions, the oil giant said on Dec. 2.

"Shell will cease its activities in compliance with sanctions," a company spokesman said. "Our main priority is the safety of our employees of whom we are very proud. We hope the situation improves quickly for all Syrians."

It is understood that the cessation of activity will take some time to complete and would not be immediate.

Shell is a partner of Al-Furat Petroleum Company, a joint venture 50%t owned by General Petroleum Corporation, a government-run oil firm. Both were added on Dec. 2 to an EU blacklist.

The EU now has sanctions on around 120 Syrian people and companies and is already enforcing an arms embargo and a ban on imports of Syrian crude oil.

According to an industry expert in Damascus, Syria's oil output has collapsed from 340,000 barrels per day to 120,000 bpd due to the narrowing of export outlets.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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