Syrian Oil Licences 2

SyriaUntold filed this request with the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2021-FOIA-00017

Due Nov. 13, 2020
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: SyriaUntold


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

- Any and all applications or written requests made from October 1, 2017 to October 8, 2020 for OFAC licenses to engage in transactions related to petroleum, gas or petroleum products of Syrian origin. This could also apply to oil companies incorporated abroad, such as UK-based GulfSands, which recently reiterated its intention to protect its rights over oil fields in Syria [https://syrianobserver.com/EN/features/60493/british-company-concerned-over-its-oil-rights-in-northeastern-syria.html].

- Any and all all active licenses to engage in transactions related to petroleum, gas or petroleum products of Syrian origin as of October 8, 2020. In particular, we would like to obtain a copy of OFAC Lic.# SY-2019-363130, which was reportedly granted to Delta Crescent Energy. There have also been unconfirmed reports (https://al-akhbar.com/ArticleFiles/20197151112056636987498800565178.pdf; https://taskandpurpose.com/news/trump-syria-oil-production) about Moti Kahana's Global Development Corporation (GDC) having been nominated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) to represent it in oil sales in January 2019. Please provide us with a copy of licences issued to GDC or request for licences submitted by the company (if any).

In October 2017, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of Al-Omar oil field in Deyr al-Zour Province, which is the largest oil field in Syria. Since then there have been multiple reports about purported oil deals between US companies and the Kurdish-led administration.

As SyriaUntold (www.syriauntold.com), a European Endowment for Democracy (EED)-funded Syria-focused journalistic platform, we are seeking expedited processing of our request pursuant to 5 U.S.C.§ 552(a)(6)(E) because not doing so "could reasonably be expected to pose a threat to the life or physical safety of an individual". In particular, a wave of assassinations have targeted Arab tribal leaders in the last months in eastern Syria, in an escalation that could be linked to undisclosed details of the aforementioned deal with Delta Crescent Energy. The announcement of this purported deal, whose details are still obscure, have prompted the Syrian Democratic Forces' regional competitors (Turkey and the Syrian government) to condemn it. All these players are likely to ramp up hostile activities against the Kurdish-led administration by mobilising segments of the population who feel excluded from the beneficiaries of a deal signed behind closed doors. Hence, the importance of transparency and of our investigataion on oil deals, in order to inform Syrian and international audiences.

The Syrian public has an urgent need to understand a deal that concerns the future of their country's natural resources, and to identify the beneficiaries of such agreement. Especially since officials of the Kurdish-led administration have not commented officially on this, with some even questioning the existence of an actual deal (https://syriafiles.net/en/dirar-to-syria-files-sdf-not-authorized-to-sign-oil-contracts-russia-is-assads-guarantor/).

We are a group of international and Syrian journalists working on this story, and we are requesting this information in that editorial capacity. The outcome of this work will be published in English and Arabic, and shared across multiple platforms on traditional and social media. SyriaUntold has collaborated with several other regional and international media platforms, including OpenDemocracy, the Network of Iraqi Reporters for Investigative Journalism, Pan Arab Al-Hayat newspaper and UPI press agency. According to a 2017 study published by the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom at the Samir Kassir Foundation, SyriaUntold stood out as one of the most accurate Syrian outlets for its attention to multiple sourcing in its stories. In addition to expedited processing, we request to be properly classified as a news media requester.

If you have any questions about our media status, please contact us.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

SyriaUntold

From: Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control

Good morning,

I am in receipt of your FOIA request sent to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which was forwarded to the Office of FOIA and Transparency to log and assign a FOIA tracking number. The first and last name of a requester are mandatory fields in our database. Before we can move forward with your request, I kindly ask that you provide me with the information required. You can simply respond to this email with the first and last name of the requester and copy our FOIA mailbox, FOIA@Treasury.gov.

Thank you,

Cawana

From: SyriaUntold

Thanks for your prompt reply,

You can add the name of Roberta Pasini to our request. She works for SyriaUntold.

We don't know how to copy your email address in this communication using the Muckrock website but we'll send you a separate email to confirm this from info@syriauntold.com.

Best

From: Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control

RE: Your FOIA Request to Treasury, Case Number2021-FOIA-00017 Dear Ms. Pasini: This email acknowledges the receipt of your Freedom ofInformation Act (FOIA) request tothe U.S. Depa rtment of the Treasury,dated 10/08/2020 . You have requested accessto the following records: - Any and all applications or written requests made from October 1, 2017 to October 8, 2020 for OFAC licenses to engage in transactions related to petroleum, gas or petroleum products of Syrian origin. This could also apply to oil companies incorporated abroad, such as UK-based GulfSands, which recently reiterated its intention to protect its rights over oil fields in Syria [https://hyperlink.services.treasury.gov/agency.do?origin=https://syrianobserver.com/EN/features/60493/british-company-concerned-over-its-oil-rights-in-northeastern-syria.html].- Any and all all active licenses to engage in transactions related to petroleum, gas or petroleum products of Syrian origin as of October 8, 2020. In particular, we would like to obtain a copy of OFAC Lic.# SY-2019-363130, which was reportedly granted to Delta Crescent Energy. There have also been unconfirmed reports (https://hyperlink.services.treasury.gov/agency.do?origin=https://al-akhbar.com/ArticleFiles/20197151112056636987498800565178.pdf; https://hyperlink.services.treasury.gov/agency.do?origin=https://taskandpurpose.com/news/trump-syria-oil-production) about Moti Kahana's Global Development Corporation (GDC) having been nominated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) to represent it in oil sales in January 2019. Please provide us with a copy of licences issued to GDC or request for licences submitted by the company (if any).In October 2017, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of Al-Omar oil field in Deyr al-Zour Province, which is the largest oil field in Syria. Since then there have been multiple reports about purported oil deals between US companies and the Kurdish-led administration.As SyriaUntold (https://hyperlink.services.treasury.gov/agency.do?origin=www.syriauntold.com), a European Endowment for Democracy (EED)-funded Syria-focused journalistic platform, we are seeking expedited processing of our request pursuant to 5 U.S.C.§ 552(a)(6)(E) because not doing so "could reasonably be expected to pose a threat to the life or physical safety of an individual". In particular, a wave of assassinations have targeted Arab tribal leaders in the last months in eastern Syria, in an escalation that could be linked to undisclosed details of the aforementioned deal with Delta Crescent Energy. The announcement of this purported deal, whose details are still obscure, have prompted the Syrian Democratic Forces' regional competitors (Turkey and the Syrian government) to condemn it. All these players are likely to ramp up hostile activities against the Kurdish-led administration by mobilising segments of the population who feel excluded from the beneficiaries of a deal signed behind closed doors. Hence, the importance of transparency and of our investigataion on oil deals, in order to inform Syrian and international audiences.The Syrian public has an urgent need to understand a deal that concerns the future of their country's natural resources, and to identify the beneficiaries of such agreement. Especially since officials of the Kurdish-led administration have not commented officially on this, with some even questioning the existence of an actual deal (https://hyperlink.services.treasury.gov/agency.do?origin=https://syriafiles.net/en/dirar-to-syria-files-sdf-not-authorized-to-sign-oil-contracts-russia-is-assads-guarantor/).We are a group of international and Syrian journalists working on this story, and we are requesting this information in that editorial capacity. The outcome of this work will be published in English and Arabic, and shared across m (Date Range for Record Search: From 10/1/2017 To 10/8/2020) Your request has been assigned to theOffi ce of Foreign Assets Control (O FAC). OF ACwill contact you directly concerning your request. Your request may require further submissionsand/or justifications in order to beprocessed. When inquiring aboutyour request, please reference FOIA case number 2021-FOIA-00017 and contact theOFAC FOIA Reques ter S ervice Center at 202-622-2500, option 3 or via email atOFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov. Sincerely, Cawana Pearson Case Manager , FOIA and Transparency Office of Privacy, Transparency, and Records

From: SyriaUntold

To whom it may concern,

The aforementioned request by Mordechai "Moti" Kahana supposedly has a reference number SY-2019-359047-1. Disclosure of all the related correspondence would be beneficial to our project.

Thanks

Best

From: Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control

Dear Ms. Pasini,

Re: FOIA No. 2021-FOIA-00017
OASIS No.: 1155363

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the status of your FOIA request 2021-FOIA-00017. As of today, there are 282 cases pending ahead of yours.

We are currently in the search stage of the process. Unfortunately, we are unable, at this time, to provide you with a date certain when we can provide our next response to you.

We appreciate your patience as we work through our queue.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at our FOIA Request Service Center via email OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov> or call us at 202-622-2500, option 3. Please reference your FOIA No. 2021-FOIA-00017 in any future communications.

Regards,

OFAC FOIA Office

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: SyriaUntold

To the attention of OFAC,

As 20 business days have already passed, is there an update on the status of our application? Thanks

Best

From: Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control

Dear Requester,

Please be advised that OFAC attempts to process its cases on a first-in, first-out basis. There are still currently 285 cases ahead of your request. The unprecedented effects of Covid-19 has negatively impacted our response time. You request has been placed in our complex queue because the type of records that you seek must be processed through the Treasury submitter notice process, please see 31 C.F.R§1.5. This will add substantial time to the processing of your request. At this time we cannot state when we will be able to process a response to you.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel contact us through our FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3 or via email to: OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>. Please reference FOIA number 2021-FOIA-00017 in all correspondence related to this case.

Sincerely.

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

OFAC FOIA Requester Service Center
OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>
202-622-2500, Option 3

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

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