Shell Won't Halt Syrian Production

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Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, has said it will not stop producing oil in Syria unless the European Union orders the company to do so. Western governments have ordered boycotts on goods produced in Syria following the onset of political violence in the Middle East country.

The uprising in Syria, which started in March, has resulted in 2,200 deaths. A Dutch press report says a Shell executive believes halting the company's Syrian production would harm the country's citizens more than the government, the Associated Press reported.

Shell (RDS-A) is the second-largest foreign oil producer in Syria behind France's Total (TOT), Europe's third-largest oil company. Shell produced 7.3 million barrels of crude in Syria last year, the AP reported.

The Dutch parliament is among the governments calling for a boycott of Syrian goods and has met with Shell executives to discuss the matter. There is no word yet on whether additional meetings have been scheduled.