Gulfsands’ Managing Director, John Bell, recently interviewed with Gulf States Newsletter regarding Gulfsands’ newly established MENA focussed subsidiary, Gulfsands Middle East Limited (“GMEL”), located in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
In the article, Mr. Bell describes Gulfsands’ strategic focus on MENA markets, having divested other non-core assets in the portfolio including acreage in Colombia. He also explains Gulfsands’ desire to gain Gulf support to legitimately restart production in its Block 26 assets in Syria – which have been under force majeure since western sanctions were imposed on President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in 2011.
He describes how the fields are currently being produced illegally by entities affiliated with the Peoples Defence Unit (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and as a result, benefits are not being felt by the ordinary Syrian people.
Mr. Bell proposes a plan, Project Hope, whereby the United Nations, or another credible international body, oversees a return of IOC-operated oil production in Syria. Allocated revenues from the oil sales would then be held in escrow and administered by the UN or another appropriate body to fund early recovery, humanitarian, economic and security efforts in the country. Gulfsands estimates that with the implementation of Project Hope, Syrian oil production could rise to 500,000 barrels per day, which could generate approximately $15-$20 billion per year. He notes that this would far exceed the value of the humanitarian aid currently being provided by the international community.
The UAE is at the forefront of regional efforts to reconsider how best to engage on Syria and to bring an end to the current Syrian crisis, and so a presence in Abu Dhabi makes sense for Gulfsands to be closer to that dialogue. Abu Dhabi also provides an excellent platform for the group’s regional business development activities.
The actual article is behind a paywall but is available to those with a subscription here