After withdrawing its ambassador in 2005, the United States has sent an envoy to Syria and plans to post an ambassador. Under-Secretary of State William Burns met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus this week, after Syria approved the nomination of career diplomat Robert Ford as the new US ambassador. What does this mean for the oil industry? Ford currently serves as the deputy chief of mission in Baghdad, served as ambassador to Algeria 2006-08, and deputy chief of mission in Bahrain 2001-04. He should be familiar with the politics of oil in northern Africa and Middle East. Iraq was a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960, and Algeria joined OPEC in 1969. Syria is a prospective member. According to the New York Times today, analysts say Washington hopes to pull Syria away from Iran. Syroil 2010, the 7th Syrian International Oil & Gas Exhibition, is scheduled for April 5-8, sponsored by Syria Shell Petroleum Development BV, Total E&P Syrie, Petro-Canada, Sinopec, CNPC, SSKOC, Schlumberger, and others. According to an Arab economic report issued in January 2008, Syria's oil reserves rank 11th in the Arab world, tied with Yemen, at 3 billion bbl. Syria's gas reserves were also ranked 11th, at 310 billion cu m. In October 2009, Syria and Venezuela signed trade, agriculture, and energy cooperation agreements. Industry players from Canada, China, and the Netherlands are developing relations and projects- and perhaps the US is finally following suit.