LONDON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Gulfsands Petroleum said the "unfortunate events" in Syria have brought significant challenges for those entities supported by its oil operations there.
Demonstrations against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad last year have evolved into a civil war in which both sides are accused of war crimes.
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.
In an interim financial report, the company stated "the unfortunate events that have engulfed Syria over the past year and a half have brought unprecedented challenges for all our stakeholders."
The company said it posted an $8.6 million loss during the first six months of the year following a $60 million profit reported for 2011. Sales were down to $2.9 million, compared to $78.6 million last year.
In its report, the company said the "prolonged and indefinite" nature of the situation in Syria has prompted a review of its objectives for the next few years.
Gulfsands said that while its focus was on the Middle East and North Africa, notably Tunisia, it would look outside the region for new opportunities.