Iran and Venezuela have signed a deal to build a $1.5bn oil refinery in Syria with planned capacity of 140,000 barrels a day (b/d).

The new venture, Venirogc, was formed in early September after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s visit to Tehran, according to the state-run energy news agency Shana.

It appears to replace a similar Syrian refinery deal planned in September 2008 by Iran and Venezuela for a 140,000-b/d facility in Furoqlos, near Homs (MEED 17:9:08).

Mohammad Ali Talebi, deputy director for international affairs at Petropars, says the ownership of the refinery would be split between Venezuela with a 33 per cent share, Iran and Syria with 26 per cent stakes respectively, and Malaysia will hold 15 per cent.

Syria will supply 70,000 b/d of oil to the refinery and Venezuela will supply 42,000 b/d. Iran will supply the remaining 28,000 b/d.

Talebi did not reveal the cost, location or schedule of the project.

In April 2008, Syria signed an agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to build a 100,000-b/d refinery 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 and is due to be completed by 2011 (MEED 3:4:08).

Damascus has also signed a contract with Kuwait’s Noor Petroleum for a 140,000-b/d refinery at Dair al-Zour following a memorandum of understanding agreed in May 2007.

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