"This is the first time I say this — Syria began joint work with Russian companies on oil and gas geological exploration in the Mediterranean Sea," Shaaban said in an interview with Lebanon's al-Mayadeen broadcaster.
She added that the Syrian authorities began preparing for this project several years ago.
In 2017, Syrian President Assad said that the Syrian government has reached contracts with a number of Russian oil and gas companies and would continue to do so.
Last week, the Al-Watan newspaper said that the Syrian authorities planned to switch public transport and taxis from gasoline to natural gas amid an oil deficit in the country. The source said that there were sufficient natural gas resources in central Syria, and the country expected to produce more on its Mediterranean shore in the future.
In April, a gasoline crisis erupted in Syria. At peak times, queues to gasoline stations in Damascus reached about 300 cars, with similar situations seen in other cities. Subsequently, the authorities raised gasoline prices and imposed restrictions on the purchase of fuel.
Syria consumes about 100,000 barrels of oil per day, and produces only 24,000 barrels. Many of the country's oil facilities are either destroyed or uncontrolled by the government, while Western sanctions hinder the delivery of oil and oil products to the country.