ISIS, Oil & Assad.

Author:Ismail, Nehad
Position:Bashar al-Assad

In recent weeks the ISIS oil infrastructure has been on the receiving end of coalition air-strikes. However, locals in Eastern Syria where most oil wells are located say despite the sporadic strikes, oil is still flowing and ISIS is determined to squeeze every dollar it can get. By far the biggest buyer for the last two years has been the Assad regime. Syrian, Iranian and Russian media claim that Turkey is the biggest importer of ISIS oil, but Turkey denies this. The UK's Financial Times estimates that ISIS earns $1.5 million per day from oil. It controls a number of oil wells in the Deir Ezzor region Syria and at least one in Mosul north of Iraq.

Such quantities are not vast. The best fields like Al-Tanak and Al-Omar in Syria produce 12000 and 9000 barrels per day (bpd) respectively. Other fields such as Shoula, Tabqa and Kharata produce as little as 500-800 barrels per day. The prices range from 25 dollars to 40 dollars bpd and in some cases as little as 10 dollars per barrel. In total the daily production is between 35000 and 40,000 bpd and shrinking.

A report by the Islamic State's Diwan al-Rakaaez--or "Ministry of Finance" seen recently by the AP in Baghdad shows that revenues from oil sales from Syria alone last April totalled $46.7 million. The ISIS report put at 253 the number of oil wells under ISIS control in Syria and said 161 of them were operational. Apart from coalition air-strikes many of the oil fields are old and in a bad state of repair. ISIS doesn't have the technical know-how or the spare parts to maintain them. Recently ISIS lost Al-Jabseh oil and gas field to Kurdish forces. Reports circulated in recent weeks that coalition airstrikes bombed Mosul's Central Bank destroying millions in Isis cash which was stored in the bank vaults. However, observers think that ISIS will not go bust that easily. The fact that ISIS is still operating as a significant oil producer despite the bombing by U.S and Coalition partners has raised a number of legitimate questions that remain unanswered Firstly, the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies know the precise locations of the ISIS-controlled oil fields and the infrastructure. If they are fighting ISIS as they claim, why haven't they bombed such easy and obvious targets.

Secondly, why have the U.S and...

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