Gaz Explorer: Syria gets LPG only from Naftomar
Ship Type: Lpg tanker
Year Built: 2010
Length x Breadth: 120 m X 20 m
Gross Tonnage: 9126, DeadWeight: 10014 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 9.2 / 6.4 knots
Flag: Panama [PA]
Call Sign: 3EUD2
IMO: 9506150, MMSI: 354588000
NAME TYPE BUILT FLAG CAPACITY TANKS MIN PRESSURE IMO
GAZ EXPLORER SP/FR 2010 Pa 9.103 2 -48 5
Behind the white-washed walls and leafy treetops of Naftomar's office in Athens, the leading figure in this trade is a man described by his peers as a Syrian national, with links to Greece's shipping elite and ties to Lebanon. Talal Zein founded Naftomar in Beirut and the trading house has since grown to dominate the heating fuel business in the east Mediterranean, with a fleet of more than 20 vessels. Ship tracking data shows one of the most recent deliveries to the Syrian Mediterranean port of Banias arriving aboard Naftomar's "Gaz Explorer" tanker.
Naftomar is the only party supplying Syria with LPG at the moment. International sanctions against Syria do not apply to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for humanitarian reasons. "We would tend to feel that it is unfair to deny such a basic commodity as LPG to consumers as part of a political statement. Currently there is no embargo to supply LPG to Syria which we believe is for humanitarian reasons," Naftomar director J.C. Heard said in a statement U.S. national J.C. Heard as a commercial director at the company. Heard said: "We have a term arrangement to supply LPG to Syria and We hope that the situation improves in Syria and that LPG can continue to be supplied to meet the needs of the general public." At current market prices, Naftomar's LPG business with Syria is worth around $55 million a month. In Syria, OIL FIRMS CUTTING TIES International sanctions have halted Syrian oil exports since September 2011, stretching budget revenues. Attacks on pipelines by rebels have also almost idled Syrian refineries and made it more dependent than ever on foreign deliveries. Syria consumed some 840,000 tonnes of LPG in 2009,. Other oil firms, including the world's biggest trader Vitol and Italy's oil and gas firm Eni say they have no relations with Syria. Market participants familiar with their business say they will not deal with Syria for fear of being associated with its rulers. Sytrol, the Syrian oil company responsible for fuel imports and exports, was placed on a U.S. blacklist last summer and the European Union followed suit in December. The Syrian central bank is also blacklisted. As a result, difficulties processing payments have prevented even willing oil firms from doing business with Syria.
A source familiar with Syria's LPG business said Naftomar can keep up deliveries because it is dealing with state-owned, Damascus-based distributor Mahrukat. Also called the Syrian Company for the Storage and Distribution of Petroleum Products, it does not yet feature on the sanctions lists. This week, a U.S. House committee voted to impose new sanctions on Syria's energy sector which would effectively ban the delivery of refined petroleum products. [ID:nL2E8E784F] Sytrol and Mahrukat were not available to comment. A cold snap in the Mediterranean region, which sent temperatures to record lows last month, has caused LPG prices to rise [ID:nL5E8E1BD7]. Samir Nashir, from the executive council of the Syrian National Council, representing the opposition, said he believed there are many opposition areas that have been blocked from receiving fuel, electricity, water and humanitarian assistance. "This is one of the group punishments against areas that have flared up with protests against the regime," he said. "There are businessmen that are backing away from the regime but others whose wealth was made by their relationship with the regime so they are dependent on it. They will defend this regime to the very end and we won't be able to convince them to change this. Their end will come along with the regime."