BEIRUT – A senior official with the main U.S.-backed force in Syria says his fighters have captured the country's largest gas field from the Islamic State group in an eastern province that borders Iraq. Nasser Haj Mansour of the Syrian Democratic Forces says the Conoco gas field came under full control of the group on Saturday after days of fighting with the extremists. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war in Syria, says SDF fighters have not yet taken the field in the province of Deir el-Zour, saying fighting is ongoing outside it. SDF fighters have been marching on the east bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour while Syrian troops are gaining in areas on the west bank of the river under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Saudi Arabia's energy minister has called for a global output cut of one million barrels per day (bpd) to re-balance the market, a day after Riyadh unveiled plans to cut production by 500,000 bpd from December. "The technical analysis we reviewed yesterday shows that we need a reduction approaching one million bpd to balance the market," Khalid al-Falih told an energy conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The proposed reduction is from October production levels, al-Falih said, cautioning that further study was needed before final decisions were made. "There are a lot of assumptions in their projections that may change," al-Falih said. "We don't want to throttle the global economy.
US-backed Syrian fighters captured a major gas field from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in an eastern province that borders Iraq as they race with government forces to capture the energy-rich region, a senior official with the group said. Nasser Haj Mansour of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the Conoco gas field and plant came under full control of the group on Saturday morning after days of fighting with the armed group. He added that SDF, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, also captured the nearby al-Izba gas field. The facility had the largest capacity of any in Syria before the conflict erupted in 2011: 13 million cubic metres of natural gas per day, according to The Syria Report, an economic digest. Another SDF spokesman, Brigadier General Talal Sillo, said the fighting in the area left 65 ISIL fighters dead while more than 100 gunmen surrendered.
US President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia's King Salman has agreed to his request to increase oil output "maybe up to" two million barrels, as state media in Riyadh confirmed a phone call between the two leaders about oil but mentioned no specifics. Trump's claim on Saturday comes after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a grouping of oil producing states that includes Saudi Arabia, already agreed to ramp up production by a million barrels a day at a meeting earlier this month. Non-OPEC member Russia on June 23 also backed the effort, capping a week of tense diplomacy for the bloc that averted a damaging rift between arch foes Iran and Saudi Arabia. "Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction [sic] in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference," the US president wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Trump added, without specifying the timeframe for the increased production or whether his two million figure referred to barrels per day.