(Updates with natural gas output in third paragraph.)
Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Syria, which is trying to halt a decline in its oil production amid a wave of deadly unrest and sanctions, pumped 2.4 percent less crude in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2010.
The nation produced 103 million barrels of crude until the end of September, with an average of 378,091 barrels a day, the Oil Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement. Output in the first nine months of last year was 106 million barrels, according to a ministry statement published on Oct. 31, 2010.
Syria has been engulfed in a wave of protests calling for regime change since the beginning of the year. The government’s violent crackdown on protests, inspired by pro-reform revolts in the region, triggered more U.S. and European Union sanctions against the Syrian regime, including some that target the Arab country’s energy industry.
The Syrian Petroleum Co. pumped 53 percent of the total output and the rest came from producers affiliated with foreign companies, the ministry said.
Natural-gas production rose by 10 percent to 8.3 billion cubic meters in the first nine months, with an average of 30.41 million a day, it said. Syria produced 7.52 billion cubic meters in the same period a year earlier.
Syria produced 2.9 million metric tons of phosphate of which about 2.4 million tons were exported in the first nine months of this year, according to the ministry statement. Phosphate sales generated 10.9 billion Syrian pounds ($217 million), it said.
The government bought oil and gas products costing about 410 billion Syrian pounds, against sales worth 229 billion pounds, incurring a 181 billion-pound deficit, it said.
The EU on Sept. 2 banned imports of crude from Syria, expanding sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for its deadly crackdown on protesters. The embargo affects exports valued at 3.16 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in 2010, according to the European Commission.
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