Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian Alaw said on Friday that the country's oil industry is facing great challenges as the production was witnessing a gradual decrease.
Alaw made the remarks while opening a three-day workshop on exploration and production of petrol and gas companies in Syria, reported the official SANA news agency.
"The production of oil in Syria reached about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 1996 while it records now about 400,000 bpd," the minister was quoted as saying.
A fall in the oil production was expected in "a gradual and slow way" in the coming years, Alaw said, vowing that his ministry was exerting great efforts to cut this slump by announcing new areas to explore and develop current oil fields.
Oil output in Syria continues to decline due to technological problems and depletion of reserves. Syria has worried that it is possible that the country could become a net oil importer within a decade.