The 100,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery will be located in the Abu Khashab area of Deir al-Zor in the east. The facility will refine heavy Syrian crude oil as well as other types of crude. It is due to be completed by 2011.

A joint venture of CNPC and the local Homs Refinery Company will be set up to carry out a feasibility study into the project, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

CNPC will fund 85 per cent of the project, with the remaining 15 per cent to be provided by the Syrian government (MEED 12:01:07).

Under a second agreement, China will provide Syria with $3m to finance projects in the oil, telecoms and agriculture sectors.

Syria’s oil output has fallen from 600,000 b/d in 1996 to its current level of 400,000 b/d.