The official news agency spelled no further details on Wednesday but other media reports said Oil Minister Sulaiman Abbas signed the contract with the Russian company named Ceo Naftagas.

The contract is for oil exploration and production in block two of Syria's territorial water, which stretches from the shore of the coastal city of Tartous to the city of Banyas.

The minister said the contract will go into effect "immediately" in spite of the sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union and US, noting that the Russian companies in Syria have not stopped its work despite the sanctions.

Oil, the lifeline for the Syrian economy, is at risk as the main oil fields are located in rebel-held areas in northeastern Syria and are erroneously used by gunmen, according to reports.


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