Syria awarded a $14 million (Dh51.38 million) contract for oil and natural gas exploration to a Tunisian company, the Oil Ministry said.

The company HBS International Limited has 25-year contract to conduct geological surveys, bore wells and extract oil or gas in the central province of Raqqa, the ministry said.

The drilling of wells and surveys will be completed in three phases, the first of which lasts 4 years, the statement said.

The contract gives the Syrian government 12.5 per cent of the gross total of the oil output. Syria currently produces about 600,000 barrels of oil per day.