• 9 hours Russia Approves Profit-Based Oil Tax For 2019
  • 13 hours French Strike Disrupts Exxon And Total’s Oil Product Shipments
  • 15 hours Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Still Below Pre-Conflict Levels
  • 17 hours Oil Production Cuts Taking A Toll On Russia’s Economy
  • 19 hours Aramco In Talks With Chinese Petrochemical Producers
  • 20 hours Federal Judge Grants Go-Ahead On Keystone XL Lawsuit
  • 22 hours Maduro Names Chavez’ Cousin As Citgo Boss
  • 1 day Bidding Action Heats Up In UK’s Continental Shelf
  • 1 day Keystone Pipeline Restart Still Unknown
  • 2 days UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 2 days Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 2 days Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 2 days German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 2 days Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 2 days Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 3 days Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 3 days Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 3 days Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 3 days Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 3 days Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 3 days Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 3 days U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 3 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 4 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 4 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 4 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 4 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 4 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 6 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 7 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 7 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 7 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 7 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 7 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 7 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 7 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 7 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 8 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
Alt Text

Energy Majors Hit Hard By Climate Regulations

Siemens and General Electric have…

Alt Text

GE Looks To Divest Energy Assets As Turmoil Continues

General Electric’s turmoil continues as…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Why is Gulfsands Petroleum Still Drilling in Syria?

Why is Gulfsands Petroleum Still Drilling in Syria?

Authors note: After publication this week, Gulfsands Petroleum announced Thursday it was ending its exploration campaign in Syria while sanctions are in place.

Independent energy company Gulfsands Petroleum announced this week that it made oil and natural gas discoveries during drilling operations in the country's northeast. Gulfands was forced to halt production activity in Syria late last year because of sanctions pressure but that did little to curb its Syrian exploration campaign. The 10-month-old conflict in Syria is looking more and more like full-blown civil war and, with most oil majors headed for the exit doors, unless there's some sort of protective force manning the oil and gas fields in Syria, sanctions might be the last of Gulfsands' concerns.

Late last year, as supermajors like Royal Dutch Shell said they were postponing operations in Syria, Gulfsands continued drilling away in an effort to find recoverable reserves in the country. The London-listed company had cut back on production but continued on with its drilling campaign despite ongoing bloodshed. This week, Gulfsands said the reservoir characteristics from fields in northeast Syria were in line with previous estimates of 19.2 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The same week Gulfsands made its announcement, anti-government forces in Syria blew up a natural gas pipeline in the restive city of Homs near the country's west coast. Syrian authorities blamed "terrorists" for the attack, which wasn't the first such incident since the uprising began mid-March. The U.N. puts the death toll at around 5,000, anti-government groups say it's closer to 6,000 and even if somehow Security Council members can convince Moscow to at least abstain from voting, a resolution of any sort is unlikely to halt the violence with the crack of the gavel.

In 2010, before things got real ugly in Yemen, a security guard opened fire in the Sanaa headquarters of Austrian energy company OMV. While company officials said they didn't see a political motive in that attack, the incident was a sign of things to come. In Libya last year, global energy traders were in a tizzy after the conflict there choked off much of the oil from one of Africa's most prolific producers. But NATO was in Libya and transitional leaders were quietly talking with energy companies even before Gadhafi's regime officially collapsed.

Syria is no Libya. There will be no NATO role in Syria. There's nobody talking with international oil companies working in Syria because most of them left last year, at least on paper. Moscow objects to any foreign intervention so it seems like this conflict is going to drag on for awhile. Granted, companies like Gulfsands rely heavily on the work they do in counties like Syria -- the world needs oil -- but at some point someone's going to get hurt. For Gulfsands, and for members of the Security Council for that matter, there's more at stake in Syria than just oil.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Fred Banks on February 02 2012 said:
    What you forgot to say Daniel is that NATO will not take action in Syria because that country has only a teaspoon or two of oil. If it had as much as the UAE you would hear all sorts of shouts about 'protecting civilians'.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News