March 5 (Bloomberg) -- An explosion struck a Syrian oil pipeline in al-Quriye in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, Al Jazeera television reported, citing unidentified activists. It didn’t give further details.
Crude spilled in the area today after the explosion, according to the opposition Shaam News Facebook page, which blamed the explosion on government forces.
The blast was the latest of at least seven attacks this year that have targeted pipelines and refineries in Syria, which has been engulfed by a wave of unrest since March last year. State-run media blamed the attacks on “terrorist groups.”
The Syrian government’s violent suppression of protests has led the U.S. and European Union to impose additional sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s administration. Some restrictions target the country’s oil and gas industries.
Syrian crude production has declined as economic sanctions curb its ability to sell the commodity, Oil Minister Sufian Alao said on Dec. 24. The country was pumping about 260,000 barrels a day, he said. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and other European companies have ceased operations in the country because of the sanctions, Alao said.
The national electricity grid has lost about 2,600 megawatts because of difficulty in transporting fuel to power stations after attacks on energy infrastructure by “terrorist group,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported, citing Electricity Minister Imad Khamis.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency estimated in its February monthly oil market report that Syria produced about 280,000 barrels a day in January, down from a daily average of 330,000 barrels in 2011 and 390,000 barrels in 2010.
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