Iran has revealed plans to build a new oil refinery in Syria's Homs governorate with a capacity of 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Damascus and the government of Venezuela.
"A tripartite memorandum was signed between Iran, Venezuela, and Syria for a new 140,000 barrel refinery to be built in Syria," Jalil Salari, the Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) told state-run Fars News Agency this week.
"The studies that were conducted found that Syria and its neighboring countries are in need of petroleum products, therefore a refinery with a capacity of 140,000 barrels was identified next to the two existing Syrian refineries of Homs and Bania," the official added, highlighting that the three nations will soon enter the financing and construction phase.
Salari also revealed that the existing Homs refinery was repaired by Iranian engineers during a visit by President Ebrahim Raisi in May, and that the studies for the new refinery were conducted by a team from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
The landmark deal comes in spite of a brutal sanctions campaign from the west that nearly decimated the oil industries of all three nations.
Iran has played a pivotal role in helping both Syria and Venezuela overcome the worst of the western onslaught, providing both countries with technical, material, and military assistance.
In June, Caracas resumed work at the El Palito oil refinery, which is undergoing major repair and expansion work as part of a 100-million-euro deal signed in May 2022 with NIORDC. Iranian technical teams are also working to restore Venezuela's largest oil refinery complex, the Paraguana Refining Center. The plan calls for combining Chinese and Iranian parts and equipment in a refinery built initially using US technology.
By building the new refinery in Homs, Iran will also aid Syria in boosting its oil production levels, as the country has lost over $100 billion in revenues since the start of the war due to the destruction caused by western bombs and an ongoing oil theft campaign led by the US occupation army.
In 2019, former US president Donald Trump detailed why Washington intends to uphold the occupation of northeast Syria, saying, "We want to bring our soldiers home. But we did leave soldiers because we’re keeping the oil.… I like oil. We’re keeping the oil."
According to The Cradle columnist Firas Shoufi, the main goal of siphoning off Syrian oil to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) is to help the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), which is protected by more than 13 US military bases, to finance its activities and cover its local fuel needs. Iran is also fighting fuel smuggling near its shores, often seizing tankers in the Red Sea that carry stolen fuel.