UK minnow Gulfsands Petroleum looks to finally emerge from dormancy after sanctions halted its Syria operations, its only producing assets in late 2011.

On 19 November, Gulfsands announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Arawak Energy – an upstream subsidiary of Swiss trading giant, Vitol – to jointly acquire projects in the MENA region. Any future joint ventures will see Gulfsands hold a 30% stake and operatorship, while Arawak will hold a 70% stake and will provide financing – a condition that Gulfsands says will help it pursue “projects that might otherwise be considered to be beyond its reach.” Though Gulfsands did not specify which countries it will target, the company said during a conference call that it has been given the go ahead from Vitol to continue with its Morocco operation, where it is in the process of commercializing a small onshore gas discovery. However, the two firms will target oil developments: “I’d imagine [Vitol is] looking wherever possible to expand their existing business,” said Gulfsands CEO Mahdi Sajjad during an analyst call. (CONTINUED - 828 WORDS)