The U.S. plan to withdraw its troops from Syria will not give Islamic State an opportunity to try to retake some oil fields in the war-torn country, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told FOX Business on Wednesday. “I am confident we will make sure that ISIS doesn’t have access to those oil fields,” Secretary Pompeo told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo in a conversation about the Trump Administration’s plans for withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Syria and the consequences for the U.S. allies and for enemies in the region. The U.S. Administration is determined to quash the Islamic State caliphate and not to allow it to retake oil fields, whose oil it could sell to fund its operations, according to Secretary Pompeo.
In September 2017, U.S.-backed Syrian forces seized the Conoco gas plant from Islamic State in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor area, depriving the militants from an important revenue source. In August 2018, the second-largest oil field in Syria, the Tanak field in the Deir Ezzor region, resumed operations, nearly a year after U.S.-backed predominantly Kurdish forces recaptured the field from ISIS. The Tanak field, which hosts around 150 wells and the capacity to produce up to 40,000 bpd, was captured from the Islamist militants by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in November of 2017, following fierce clashes with Islamic State militants on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river in Syria’s Deir Ezzor governorate, which is the country’s richest oil province.
Less than a month before recapturing the Tanak oil field, SDF had wrested control over the al-Omar oil field in eastern Syria from the Islamic State. Al-Omar is Syria’s largest oil field, producing around 30,000 bpd before the civil war. After 2011, however, Al-Omar had fallen into the hands of Islamic State, which was at one point making US$5.1 million in monthly oil sale revenues on the black market.