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Syria approves first energy deals with U.S. firms since 1988

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Friday, August 15, 2003

NICOSIA Syrian President Bashar Assad has approved two energy contracts with U.S. companies.

The deal is the first between U.S. energy companies and the Syrian government since 1988.

The official Syrian News Agency said Assad ratified a nine-year oil and natural gas exploration contract with two U.S. energy firms. The contract with the U.S. firms was signed by the state-owned Syrian Oil Co. in May.

The decision by Assad removes the final obstacles to a contract by Devon Energy and Gulfsands Petroleum to develop energy reserves in northeastern Syria. Under the contract, Devon, based in Oklahoma, would be operator of four exploration wells and hold an 80 percent interest. The Texas-based Gulfsands would hold 20 percent.

The two U.S. companies are expected to invest at least $15 million.

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