The UK’s Gulfsands Petroleum has suspended its exploration activities in Syria due to the civil unrest taking place in the country.

The move by Gulfsands comes after the company decided to comply with sanctions on Syria’s oil industry imposed by the European Union (EU) in an attempt to cut off key revenue sources for the incumbent regime.

Exploration is not strictly included in the sanctions, but Gulfsands has decided that ceasing its activities is “consistent with the intent of the sanctions”.

“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.

Gulfsands owns a 50 per cent interest of Block 26 in North East Syria, a field with a combined total of 24,000 barrels-a-day. Production stopped at the field in December to comply with the EU sanctions.

According to company reports Gulfsands spent $24.1m on its Syrian exploration activities in the first half of 2011 and made revenues of $73.1m.

See also: Unrest in Syria takes on sectarian hue