All firms will have to respect Syria sanctions -- Hague

BRUSSELS Thu Dec 1, 2011 3:58am EST

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BRUSSELS Dec 1 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary William Hague declined to comment on Thursday about the possible effect on Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell from a new round of Syrian sanctions, but said all firms would have to respect the measures.

"I don't want to comment on individual companies, of course whatever we agree, we expect that to be observed across the commercial sector by all companies, but they have to sort that out for themselves," Hague told a reporters in Brussels where EU foreign ministers are expected to agree new sanctions on Syria.

Hague was asked about the effect of the sanctions on British Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total .

The European Union is expected to add Syria's General Petroleum Corporation (GPC) to its list of sanctioned companies on Thursday, a move some diplomatic sources say will likely make it difficult for European oil firms to continue operating in Syria.

Royal Dutch Shell and China National Petroleum Corporation are both partners of GPC through the Al-Furat joint venture. Shell has declined to comment.

Total and the UK's Gulfsands also have investments in Syria and like Shell have been forced to cut output in the country because of a lack of storage capacity for crude oil, sources told Reuters, but traders said that flows have increased in the last few weeks.

The blacklisting of GPC would be part of a broader package of sanctions in response to Syria's crackdown on dissent, set to be approved by EU foreign ministers.

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