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Resource Rapture: Syria’s Untapped Assets Desired By Allies And Enemies Alike

Editor’s Note: Gulfsands, Shell and other parties showed much interest in Syria’s newly discovered oil fields . It is not surprising to see that sanctions came just in time to halt further inquiry and inspections. Russia’s former energy minister Yuri Shafranik and his business partners attempted a hostile takeover of Gulfsands Petroleum. They must have known that the cousin of  Syria’s president Rami Makhlouf was already cutting a deal with Gulfsands for the rights although Rami’s company was slapped with EU sanctions.  There is more skulduggery afoot but those oil and gas contracts may be taken by force.

The numbers and the facts don’t lie. Western Governments aren’t in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan because the falafel and couscous is good. This is a global economic hostile takeover using bombs and bullets. The bean counters and administrators come in later and begin the due diligence process. At this moment Russia and China are barking like junk yard dogs, not because they value Syria and Iran as allies but because they want to corner and control the market. A few arms sales won’t hurt either. It’s a big game of monopoly, we must watch the board to see how it plays out.


Middle East Oil Reserves: Billions of Barrels
Iran(Possible Conflict)       136.3
Iraq(Foreign Managed)      115
Libya(Foreign Managed)   41.5
Syria(Possible Conflict)      2.5
Algeria                                          12.70
Stat Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Oil & Gas Journal; 2007 figures.


The oil road through Damascus

“However, properly secured, a pipeline through Israel, Syria or Lebanon to the Mediterranean would be of tremendous value. The important phrase here is “properly secured”. Otherwise, one choke point would be exchanged for another, potentially more vulnerable one.”

“Add in the discovery of huge offshore natural gas reserves in Lebanon and Israel, and the precedent of Iranian natural gas embargos to Turkey , and the overall potential impact Syria can have on energy transport, and it becomes clear that Syria carries huge weight in Turkish foreign policy formulation.”

Gulfsands’ Syrian Appraisal Well Confirms 19.2 Million Barrels

“Gulfsands Petroleum reported Tuesday that results from its Khurbet East 102 Triassic appraisal well fit with initial estimates that volumes from the Butmah Formation amount to 19.2 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The firm – which has interests in the Middle East, Europe and the US, and whose shares are quoted on London’s Alternative Investment Market – also updated its investors on operations, saying that both the Khurbet East and Yousefieh oil fields continued to perform “extremely well” last year.

Gulfsands said the Khurbet East appraisal well results are “generally consistent with pre-drill expectation”, with hydrocarbon columns and reservoir characteristics interpreted as broadly confirming the company’s initial estimate.”

Gulfsands In Business With Cousin Of Syrian President(Massive Corruption)

“Gulfsands Petroleum PLC did business with a company controlled by a cousin of the Syrian president who is currently under sanctions, The Financial Times reported (sub req).

The London-listed oil and gas company agreed to share profits from its Syrian operations with Ramak , a holding company owned by the family of that cousin, Rami Makhlouf, the report said. Gulfsands also paid more than $1 million in fees to Ramak, FT reported.

Makhlouf is a first cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and he is estimated to control up to 60% of the country’s economy.”

Gulfsands Petroleum a Takeover Target?

“Shares in Gulfsands Petroleum (LSE: GPX) closed the day up 6% on the London stock exchange following notification of more stake-building by Waterford Finance & Investment Limited.

Following recent incremental increases, Waterford’s latest purchase of shares brings their holding to 14%. Shares in the company have risen by 50% over the past three months, and now stand at 212.25p.

Waterford is an investment vehicle controlled by Russian investor Michael Kroupeev.

Another Russian concern, Soyuzneftegas Capital Limited, reports a 3.39% holding. The Telegraph reports that Yuri Shafranik, the former Russian energy minister, is chairman of Soyuzneftegas and also on the board of Waterford.”

Gulfsands Petroleum ends Syrian oil work(due to sanctions)

“Gulfsands Petroleum said it was ending oil exploration activity in Syria while sanctions are in place against Damascus.

Gulfsands this week announced it discovered oil in northeastern Syria. The company, however, said it’s now decided to end exploration activity, 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 Syria.

“It is disappointing to be obliged to cease exploration following a recent run of considerable success and with substantial exploration potential still untapped,” the company said in a statement.”

Positive Syrian drill fails to benefit Gulfsands

Gulfsands Petroleum, the Aim-quoted oil explorer with operations in Syria, failed to benefit from positive drilling results in the troubled country this week.

The reason? Since December Gulfsands has been forced to abandon its involvement in oil production at its Khurbet East oilfield along with its partner Emerald Energy, a subsidiary of Chinese oil company Sinochem, in response to international sanctions.


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