Sanctions imposed on the Syrian energy sector by the European Union are grounds to declare force majeure in the country, Gulfsands Petroleum said Monday. The European Union in early December hit Syria\'s General Petroleum Corp. with new sanctions as punishment for the brutal crackdown on opponents to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Gulfsands Petroleum, a London-listed energy company, said the sanctions limit access to equipment and technology needed for the Syrian oil and gas industry. The company said the restrictions on its activity in Syria were grounds to declare force majeure in Syria. Damascus, the company said, plans to produce some of its oil at its own cost as it deems necessary. Rick George, chief executive officer at Canadian energy company Suncor Energy, last weekend said his company made a similar decision after monitoring the situation in the country \"very closely.\" Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest investors in the Syrian energy sector, announced recently it was halting Syrian operations because of the sanctions. The country had its $3.5 billion-a-year oil export revenue curtailed by an embargo from European consumers early this year. An attack on an oil pipeline in the restive Syrian city of Homs last week prompted fears of escalated bloodshed in the country. The United Nations estimates at least 4,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since an uprising began in mid-March.