Min­ing mat­ters

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

An An agree­ment on oil and gas ex­trac­tion from the Afghan-Ta­jik basin in north­east­ern Afghanistan has been signed be­tween the govern­ment of Afghanistan and three com­pa­nies - the Turk­ish Pe­tro­leum In­ter­na­tional Com­pany (TPIC), Drago Oil (UAE) and the Ghazanfar Group of Afghanistan. The com­pa­nies are ex­pected to in­vest $12 bil­lion in the en­ergy-starved coun­try. A to­tal of 20 firms sub­mit­ted ex­trac­tion bids for two fields while eight of them had ex­pe­ri­ence in the field. The sign­ing cer­e­mony took place in Mazar-iSharif.

The oil and gas basin, lo­cated be­tween Takhar and Jawz­jan prov­inces, had been dis­cov­ered in 1957. But the do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan did not al­low ex­ploita­tion of the de­posits. Ac­cord­ing to Jalil Ah­mad, an of­fi­cial of the Min­istry of Min­ing of Afghanistan, ex­trac­tion from the two fields would be­gin in three to five years, with the firms ex­pected to in­vest $12 bil­lion over a pe­riod of 12 years.

The fields are es­ti­mated to con­tain 514 mil­lion bar­rels of oil and 91 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas. The oil and gas hauled up from the fields is to be used to meet do­mes­tic con­sump­tion be­fore be­ing ex­ported, the of­fi­cial said. The pro­ject will ini­tially cre­ate 1,000 jobs – a num­ber that is ex­pected to in­crease to 12,000 with time.

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