LONDON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Gulfsands Petroleum said it was ending oil exploration activity in Syria while sanctions are in place against Damascus.
Gulfsands this week announced it discovered oil in northeastern Syria. The company, however, said it's now decided to end exploration activity, which the company's board said was a matter of "financial and operational prudence" considering the restrictions placed on obtaining technical services and supplies in Syria.
"It is disappointing to be obliged to cease exploration following a recent run of considerable success and with substantial exploration potential still untapped," the company said in a statement.
Gulfsands added that it's received no payment for oil production from Syria's state-owned General Petroleum Company. The London-listed independent Gulfsands said it's owed about $25 million.
A 10-month conflict in Syria is moving the country closer to civil war. The United Nations estimates at least 5,000 people have been killed by government forces since an uprising began last March.
"The board believes that the situation in Syria will be resolved in due course and that the company will be able to resume profitable operation," the company said.
Gulfsands said it intends to keep local staff on the payroll and provide for their security as best as possible. The company added that Chief Financial Officer Andrew Rose submitted his resignation in order "to pursue other interests."