NICOSIA Ñ 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.