LONDON, April 4 (UPI) -- Gulfsands Petroleum announced it would seek to preserve its position in Syria but leave "no stone unturned" to diversify its assets.
Gulfsands announced in December that it decided to end exploration activity in Syria, 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 the country.
Though profits after tax were up 23 percent compared with 2010, the company said in its audited results for the year ending Dec. 31 that force majeure declared in Syria "had a significant impact on the financial statements."
The company reported an "exodus of many institutions from our share register" because of its Syrian operations.
Mid-December, the company said the sanctioned Syrian General Petroleum Co. gave it permission to develop parts of its Khurbet East formation, which could hold as much as 8.8 million barrels of oil and 62 billion cubic feet of gas.
Apart from Syria, Gulfsands is working in Iraq, Tunisia, Italy and the United States.
Andrew West, chairman of the board at Gulfsands, said a resolution to the Syrian crisis would bring relief not only to the civilian population but also to corporate shareholders.
"In the interim, we are leaving no stone unturned in our continuing efforts to find attractive opportunities to deploy our financial and technical firepower into 'fast track' geographical diversification," he said in a statement.