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Russia Stroytransgaz to continue building gas infrastructure in Syria

Russian construction company Stroytransgaz does not expect to halt itsoperations in Syria despite widespread unrest in the country, head of thecompany Sergei Makarov said Friday.

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Stroytransgaz has operated in Syria since 2000, participating in theSouth Middle Area Gas Exploitation Project, that includes the construction ofa 319 km pipeline and a gas treatment facility, according to the company'swebsite.

"So far the situation is normal, we don't plan to withdraw [ourpersonnel]," Makarov said. "The company's facilities in Syria are wellprotected and there is no threat to the project."

In 2007, the company signed a deal with Syrian Gas Company to construct asecond gas treatment facility, according to the Stroytransgaz website.

The annual projected capacity of the facility is 1.3 billion cubic metersof purified gas, 600,000 mt of LPG, and 136,200 cu m of condensate.

The project includes the construction of infrastructure facilities atthe West Twinan, Twinan, Al Gour, East Al Akram, and Al Harith gas fields.

Earlier this month, Total and Shell informed the Syrian authorities oftheir decision to stop oil and natural gas operations in the country tocomply with international sanctions.

The European Union tightened sanctions against Syria's energy andfinancial sectors on Friday last week, the latest in a series of measuresagainst Damascus over the Bashar Assad regime's violent crackdown againstpro-democracy protesters.

The UN estimates at least 4,000 people have died since March whenanti-government protests erupted.

--Nadia Rodova,