Gulfsands shuts down its Syria project amid unrest

City A.M. Reporter
UK-LISTED explorer Gulfsands Petroleum and Chinese company Sinochem have shut down their oil operations in Syria following European Union sanctions related to the crackdown on the uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, Gulfsands said.

Although China has resisted sanctions on Syria, Sinochem is bound by EU sanctions since it bought its interest in the Syrian fields by taking over UK-listed Emerald Energy, through which it still owns the assets, a Gulfsands spokesman said.

Syrian state-controlled General Petroleum Corporation (GPC) will continue to produce oil from the fields, in exploration block 26. Analysts said the further development of the block would be delayed.

The Syrian fields are the only cash-generating assets Gulfsands owns, but a spokesman said it had $120m on the balance sheet and no debt.

Gulfsands’ shares dropped 8.7 per cent to 170p yesterday.