Islamic State has published a video showing the destruction of INA’s Hayan gas facility, located some 100 kilometres east of Homs. In its statement, ISIL claims that they have destroyed the facility in order to cause economic paralysis of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They claim that the gas facility was a backbone of the Bashar al-Assad’s regime, with daily production of 3 million cubic metres of gas, which was mostly used by the regime’s military, reports Večernji List on January 9, 2017.
In its statement, ISIL claims that its act had caused great damage to the regime, which will now have problems not only with the supply of gas, but also of electricity. ISIL decided on the move in the midst of preparations for a large offensive by the Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters to return to the city of Palmyra, which is located close to the oil and gas fields, which ISIL returned to its control on 11 December.
Syrian military sources were not able to confirm nor deny ISIL’s claims, but residents of Homs and surrounding towns said they had heard a strong detonation, which shook the entire province of Homs. ISIL provided a video as a proof of its action.
INA used to conduct research at the Hayan block, which was completed in 2007 and led to the discovery of six oil and gas fields: Jihar, Al Mahr, Jazal, Palmyra, Mustadyra and Mazrur. INA stopped oil and gas extraction in 2012 after its withdrawal from Syria, which was caused by “vis major”, meaning the conflict in Syria and complex political situation. INA’s activities at the Hayan block lasted for only 57 days.
INA issued a statement last month about the possibility of its return to the Syrian oil and gas fields. The company warned that the security and political situation in Syria was so complex that there was reasonable doubt that it could be resolved in the next few years. It is known that, due to the uncertain political situation in Syria, INA wrote off about 3.8 billion kuna worth of assets from 2013 to 2015.
As a result of the war, INA’s facilities suffered damage and were in various periods under control of different sides in the conflict. Despite an indirect call by the Syrian authorities to INA to return to the fields, the main prerequisite for the continuation of INA’s operations related to the exploration and production of oil and gas in Syria was the complete cessation of all military operations in Syria, as well as lifting of sanctions which are still in place.