Gulfsands Petroleum Operations in Syria

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Gulfsands Petroleum has two producing fields within the same Production Sharing Contract (PSC) area at oil-rich Block 26 in the north-east of Syria, along the border with Iraq.

The Khurbet East field was discovered in June 2007 and commenced commercial production in July 2008.

The Yousefieh field was Gulfsands' second discovery and was brought on stream in April 2010.

The combined production of the Khurbet East and Yousefieh fields in 2011, prior to the imposition of sanctions, was over 24,000 barrels per day (bpd).[1]

Impact of Uprising 2011

Calculations by London-based Platform suggest that as of 2011, Gulfsands was paying Assad's regime in Syria between $4.5 million and $8.4 million in revenue and oil each week, providing the regime with a "key capital lifeline" to finance attacks on Syrian citizens.[2]

In September 2011, Gulfsands Petroleum was instructed by the Syrian Oil Ministry to reduce production levels at its fields, due to the reduced availability of crude storage capacity in the country. Production levels fell between August and September from 24,100 bpd to 14,500 bpd, falling to only 6,000 bpd in October 2011.[1]

Gulfsands was one of the later international oil companies (IOCs) to withdraw from Syria in the face of an increasingly violent upsrising in the country in 2011. Even when oil supermajors such as Shell postponed operations in Syria, Gulfsands continued drilling.[3]

However in February 2012 the company decided to end its exploration activity, putting the decision down to a matter of "financial and operational prudence", considering the restrictions placed on obtaining technical services and supplies in Syria as a result of the sanctions.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Block 26, Syria" Gulfsands Petroleum, retrieved 7 March 2012.
  2. "Gulfsands In Business With Cousin Of Syrian President" Platform London, 24 August 2011.
  3. "Why is Gulfsands Petroleum Still Drilling in Syria?" Oil Price, 1 February 2012.
  4. "Gulfsands Petroleum ends Syrian oil work" UPI, 3 February 2012.