Gulfsands Drills Well in Northeast Syria, General Petroleum Says

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Gulfsands Petroleum Plc of the U.K. began drilling a well in north-eastern Syria in an attempt to find commercial oil discoveries, the state-owned General Petroleum Corp. said.

The company began drilling Safa-1 exploration well in the Khurbet East development on July 4, the Damascus-based General Petroleum, which oversees the industry, said in a statement on its website today.

The pre-drill resource estimate for the Safa area is calculated to be 27 million barrels of oil, Gulfsands said in a statement on July 11.

Gulfsands produces oil in Syria from the Khurbet East and Yousefieh fields from which output was in excess of 21,000 barrels of oil a day during June, the statement said. The company expects its production to increase to approximately 24,000 barrels a day by the end of 2011, it said.

Syria’s oil reserves are the ninth-largest in the Middle East, according to data from BP Plc, and the country is trying to halt its declining crude output.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lina Ibrahim in Dubai librahim4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net