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Assets in Syria safe, Gulfsands Petroleum says

Company was one of the last to suspend operations in the country.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Assets in Syria safe, Gulfsands Petroleum says
Gulfsands Petroleum says its interests in northeast Syria are secure amid the country's ongoing civil war and recent U.S. and coalition air strikes against Islamic State terrorists in the country. Above, a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting air strikes in Syria Sept. 23, 2014. UPI/Matthew Bruch/USAF | License Photo

LONDON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Though operations in Syria are idled because of economic sanctions, Gulfsands Petroleum said Tuesday its assets in the northeast of the country are secured.

Gulfsands Petroleum was one of the last energy companies operating in Syria to suspend operations amid ongoing civil war.

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In an interim statement on quarterly results, the company said economic sanctions on Syria mean operations at so-called Block 26 are shut down and not generating revenue for the company.

"We are at least fortunate in being able to report that our facilities in Syria's far north east remain safe and secure and largely untouched by the unfortunate circumstances prevailing in the country," Chief Executive Officer Richard Malcolm said in a statement. "Our dedicated technical team remains at the ready and prepared to return to operational control of our Block 26 fields, as soon as relevant sanctions permit."

The Sunni-led terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State controls parts of northeastern Syria and is said to be financing itself through oil sold on the black market.

In 2012, the company said it was producing around 4,000 barrels of oil per day from Block 26 in northeastern Syria through a partnership with Syrian state-owned General Petroleum Co. On legal advice, the company declared force majeure, meaning its released from contractual obligations because of circumstances beyond its control.

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