Big Afghan Oil, Gas Reserves Identified

U.S. and Afghan scientists say they have found significant reserves of oil and gas in Afghanistan. The U.S. Geological Survey and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Industry say two geological basins in northern Afghanistan are believed to hold 18 times more oil and three times more natural gas than previously thought. They say nearly 1.6 billion barrels of oil, mostly in the Afghan-Tajik Basin, and about 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mainly in the Amu Darya Basin, could be tapped, potentially providing revenues for the Afghan government. Officials said the U.S. Trade and Development Agency paid the $2 million cost of the assessment, which was carried out over nearly four years. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is quoted as saying the estimates of the oil and gas reserves are “very positive findings.” ((15 MAR 2006))
Afghanistan could hold 3.6 bln bbl oil – USGS study

There could be up to 36.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil lying undiscovered under the sands of war-torn Afghanistan, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Tuesday. A first-ever assessment of Afghanistan’s energy potential, funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and undertaken by the USGS and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Industry, gave mid-range estimates of about 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s nothing compared to OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia which has about 260 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and Russia’s 1.68 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves – both the world’s largest. But it’s enough that Afghanistan has asked the U.S. government for advice on how to run a potential bidding round to woo foreign investors to explore, a USGS spokeswoman said. U.S.-led forces in 2001 overthrew Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers who had harbored the al Qaeda network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, and 23,000 U.S. troops currently are targeting Taliban and al Qaeda forces. A wave of suicide bombings in recent months has killed dozens of people, part of an intensified insurgency that has killed more than 1,500 people since the start of last year. Producing natural gas in Afghanistan is nothing new. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Russian engineers identified over 15 fields in northern Afghanistan, but only three natural gas fields near Sheberghan were developed. According to the EIA, natural gas production in Afghanistan peaked at about 385 million cubic feet per day in 1978, which mostly went into Russia’s natural gas grid via a pipeline link through Uzbekistan. Afghan Foreign Minister Calls On Abdullah PUTRAJAYA, March 15 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi received Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah at the Prime Minister’s Office, here Wednesday. The prime minister warmly greeted his guest upon his arrival at Bangunan Perdana Putra for their discussion. Dr Abdullah is leading a 27-member delegation here to create awareness and update on the investment and trade opportunities in Afghanistan, a landlocked country of 30 million people. He arrived on Monday night for a two-day visit. Speaking at a seminar on business opportunities in his country in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday, Dr Abdullah said there were opportunities in different sectors such as oil and gas, handicraft and hospitality industry. ((15 MAR 2006))









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