AFPC was established under Service Contract no. 210 ratified by Law no. 43 of 1977 and named as per decree-law no. 12 in 1985.
AFPC is a joint venture company between the General Petroleum Corporation (50%) and private shareholders Syria Shell Petroleum Development (SSPD) (32%) and others , initially Deminex (18%). Where the shareholding of Deminex has changed hands a number of times, first to Petrocanada in year 2002 and thereafter to Himalaya Energy Syria (HES, a partnership between CNPC and ONGC) in year 2006, the involvement of SSPD in AFPC has been continuous - ensuring state of the art technology transfer into AFPC and, through provision of experts, providing technical expertise and coaching of national staff, many of whom subsequently replaced Shell experts. CNPC, in addition to their involvement through HES, acquired a 35% shareholding in SSPD in 2010.
AFPC is managed through its Board of Directors, made-up of a Chairman (GPC) and 3 further national members assigned by GPC, and the AFPC General manager (Shell) plus 3 other members assigned by the private shareholders.
AFPC was established after the discovery of the Thayyem field in the Euphrates region, in 1984. In successive years a large number of new fields were discovered and taken into production and some 700 wells drilled in more than 35 fields. Cumulative production reached 2 bln bbls in 2006; where AFPC production peaked at 400,000 b/d in 1993-1994, currently 38 fields are being produced at a combined rate of some 100,000 bbl/d.
Approximately 65% of AFPC production is made possible through the injection of water into the oil reservoirs, which pushes the oil towards the producing wells. The water injection system is managed and monitored closely by AFPC’s Reservoir Engineering and Production Operation Support groups.
Water injection started in 1994 taking fresh water from the Euphrates river. By now, only 20% of produced fluids consist of oil with water making up the rest. Water injection currently averages 550,000 bbl/d with most of the water coming from produced water re-injection.
The oil is processed in 4 Central Processing Facilities near the Omar, Tanak, El Ward and Thayyem fields, from where it is transported by 3 separate pipelines to the Syrian Company Oil Transportation pipeline at T2 for onward transport to Banias.
In addition to oil (and water) AFPC also produces hydrocarbon gas, which is produced together with the oil, currently some 100 mln scf/d. Part of this gas is treated at the Omar Gas Plant and part of it is evacuated to the Syrian Gas Company’s Deir EzZor Gas Plant.
Some of the gas that is treated at the Omar Gas Plant is used in a Power Generation Plant that AFPC operates, which feeds all of AFPC’s facilities and the Deir EzZor Gas Plant through a sizeable electrical grid that was specifically built for this purpose. The rest of the gas treated at the Omar Gas Plant is sold to the Syrian Gas Company.
The foreign shareholders fund all investments in AFPC necessary for drilling wells and building & operating the many oil facilities - this has exceeded US$ 8 bln since 1985. These investments have contributed significantly to the economic and social development of the area in which AFPC operates. Current investment, both Capex and Opex, is in the order of US$ 300 million per year.
In exchange for their investments, the foreign shareholders are entitled to a small percentage of the oil produced. Further, a certain percentage of oil production is set aside from which the foreign shareholders can recover their costs.
AFPC employs some 3300 staff. In addition to some 2500 direct hire AFPC staff this number is made up of some 700 SPC staff (many of which are engineers working in AFPC’s core business), 65 Shell experts and some 50 outside contractors. 2400 staff are working in the field, the rest are located in the head office in Damascus. The number of experts in AFPC is continuously reduced.