US President Donald Trump’s administration has approved the first-ever deal for a US company to develop and modernize oil fields in northeastern Syria, which is under the control of the Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces, backed by the United States.
According to US sources, it is expected that the secret contract, which has been in operation for more than a year and was signed in Syria last month, will produce billions of dollars for the Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria, and none of them will be shared with the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
The news of the deal sparked criticism from the both governments of Damascus and Ankara, as both countries condemned the agreement, as the two sides described the agreement, as Damascus said: The deal is an attempt to steal Syria’s oil under the auspices and support of the US administration, and it is a null agreement and has no legal basis.
As for the Turkish government, the agreement has been described as illegal, and it is carried out through cooperation with a SDF, that Ankara categorize it as a terrorist organization, so, it has no right to use Syrian wealth because it belongs to the Syrian people.
The contract is in line with US President Donald Trump’s long-standing goal of securing US control over oil fields in the region, and gives a submerged US oil company, Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a broad scope to develop and modernize more than half of the Syrian oil fields controlled by the SDF.
“We have been authorized to participate in all aspects of energy development, transportation, marketing, refining and exploration, in order to develop and redevelop the infrastructure in the region, and help people in the region to introduce their products to the international market,” said James Cain, one of the company’s founders and former US ambassador to Denmark.
The company of Delta Crescent Energy LLC, was incorporated in Delaware in February 2019, according to its business license.
Its partners include former U.S. ambassador to Denmark James Cain; James Reese, a former officer in the Army’s elite Delta Force; and John P. Dorrier Jr., a former executive at Gulf-Sands Petroleum, a U.K.-based oil company with offices and drilling experience in Syria.
According to US sources, the trio established the new company with the sole purpose of securing this deal in Syria and they worked intensively with US State Department officials for more than a year to accomplish it.
The sources add that the company received last April a license from the US Treasury Department exempting it from the severe Caesar Act sanctions regime imposed by the United States on Syria in order to isolate the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
The US State Department and the Pentagon formally sought to distance themselves from the project, but information confirmed that the US State Department has been active behind the scenes to achieve and complete the deal.
It is noteworthy that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the deal for the first time in response to a question from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham during a congressional hearing, where Pompeo told Graham that “closing the deal took a little longer than expected, and it is now in the implementation stage, and he added that it might be very powerful.