U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion on Sunday that Exxon Mobil or one other U.S. oil firm operate Syrian oil fields drew rebukes from authorized and vitality experts.
What I intend to do, maybe, is make a cope with an ExxonMobil or considered one of our nice companies to go in there and do it correctly … and unfold out the wealth,” Trump mentioned Sunday throughout a information convention concerning the U.S. particular forces operation that led to the loss of life of Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, the 2 largest U.S. oil companies working in the Center East, declined to touch upon the President’s remarks.
“International law seeks to protect against exactly this sort of exploitation,” mentioned Laurie Clean, an Emory Regulation College professor and director of its Heart for Worldwide and Comparative Regulation.
“It is not only a dubious legal move, it sends a message to the whole region and the world that America wants to steal the oil,” mentioned Bruce Riedel, a former nationwide safety advisor and now senior fellow at think-tank Brookings Establishment.
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“The idea that the United States would keep the oil in the hands of ExxonMobil or some other U.S. company is immoral and possibly illegal,” mentioned Jeff Colgan, an affiliate professor of political science and worldwide research at Brown College. Colgan additionally mentioned U.S. companies would face “a host of practical challenges” to operate in Syria.
Even getting Exxon or one other main oil firm to develop Syrian oil could be a “hard sell” given its comparatively restricted infrastructure and small output, mentioned Ellen R. Wald, a senior fellow on the Atlantic Councils World Vitality Heart.
Nonetheless, the USA must be involved concerning the destiny of the Syrian oil fields, mentioned Alex Cranberg, chairman of vitality agency Facet Holdings LLC, which has explored manufacturing in Iraqi Kurdistan however now not has lively initiatives in the area.
“It’s not that the oil itself matters much to the U.S., but that its misuse could fund future problems for us” if it falls into the incorrect fingers, Cranberg mentioned, noting his firm has not been approached by the White Home.
“U.S. control over the disposition of the fields and the hard currency they offer would provide a significant influence over the shape of Syrias future,” he mentioned.
Robert O’Brien, a U.S. Nationwide Safety advisor to the president, mentioned a U.S. army presence can be required to defend the Syrian oilfields, suggesting it additionally ought to have a say on their proceeds.
“We’re going to be there for a period of time to maintain control of those and make sure that there is not a resurgence of ISIS and make sure that the Kurds have some revenue from those oil fields,” O’Brien mentioned talking to NBC Information’ Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.