Field developer Gulfsands Petroleum has declared force majeure on its assets in Syria after the European Union imposed new sanctions on the regime there.

Gulfsands has taken the action over its block 26 assets in the country, from which it derives most of its income, in a 50/50 partnership with Emerald Energy.

The action follows the decision of the EU to impose further sanctions on Syria in the wake of the continued political unrest there.  Those amended sanctions now include Syria’s General Petroleum Company, the government vehicle for oil and gas investments in the country, including block 26  – and effectively Gulfsands’ partner in Block 26.

“The fundamental effect of the additional sanctions is to preclude the group, until further notice, from engaging in activities, including funding activities, connected with the production, delivery or sale of crude oil from its Block 26 fields,” Gulfsands declared today.

Effectively, with the declaration of force majeure, Gulfsands says it can no longer expect to receive any revenue from its Syrian assets for the foreseeable future, but the company points out that it is  debt free and has US $120 million n cash at its disposal.

And it has pledged to retain around 100 staff employed by the company either in the capital Damascus and at the block 26 fields, and keep them on full pay.