According to an article published by Intelligence Online today Syria is still buying petrol in Europe, by taking advantage of gray areas in European legislation, Syria is still buying petrol in Europe.
Provided they do not do business with the national import companies Styrol or Mahrukat, which are the object of European sanctions, international fuel trading companies are free to supply Syria with oil products. Others have been quick to follow the example set by the Swiss company AOT Trading, which continues to sell Russian petrol and diesel (IOL 660) to Damascus.
According to our sources, one of the traders supplying Syria is the small Cypriot company Q-One Energy Ltd, headquartered at Soboh House, Limassol, in the same building as fellow trader Soboh Pentroleum, headed by Aiman Soboh and which works closely with Russian traders. Q-One delivered two shipments of 30,000 tonnes of petrol to Syria on board the Breeze A on March 11 and the Voyager A on March 22.
The origin of the fuel is the object of much speculation in Mediterranean trading circles. The company took delivery of the petrol from the Cape Enterprise, off the coast of Cyprus. Word in the business is that the seller was a major oil trading company. Since the European Union imposed sanctions against Damascus at the end of last year, all of the big traders, chief among which is Vitol, deny doing business with Syria.
Allied to the regime in Damascus, Iran has taken over the provision of oil products to Syria: in March two shipments of fuel made the voyage from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to Banias in Syria. But, with difficulties of its own because of European and U.S. sanctions, Iran is not a reliable supplier: In February Syria did not receive the Iranian petrol it was expecting.
Iran also transports crude oil from the sanctions-hit Syrian General Petroleum Corp’s (GPC) fields to sell in Asia. Because of the sanctions, GPC can no longer work with Western oil companies and nor can it sell its oil in Europe, which used to be its principal market.
Syrian crude oil is sold in China, which has teamed with Russia in supporting Syria’s crackdown on the armed rebellion currently sweeping the country.