Afghanistan: Tethys Petroleum praises openness of Afghan tendering process
18 Apr 2011
Tethys Petroleum has responded positively to an announcement by the Afghanistan Government that it is one of five international companies who have pre-qualified for a tender to explore and develop oil and gas deposits in northern Afghanistan. The process represents the first round of the Afghan Government's plan to issue licences to foreign energy companies.
A spokesman for Tethys said he believed that the development could play a hugely significant role in the economic and political development of Afghanistan.
Dr David Robson, Chairman, President and CEO of Tethys said after a meeting in Kabul with H.E. Minister Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines that the Afghan Government, supported by the International Community and the US Government, is running the tendering process in "an open, transparent and efficient manner. Given the risks and dangers which have existed in Afghanistan, and the enormous emerging potential in the minerals sector, I believe the way these matters have been handled is providing a model for the future and is bound to have a positive impact on the attitude of foreign investors."
The pre-qualification announcement made by the Ministry of Mines (MOM) provides additional information on the pre-qualified bidders and the potential for the area. Further information is available at the following link: www.mom.gov.af/?page=QualificationofBiddersforOilTender&lang=en
Oil was first discovered in Afghanistan in 1958 in the country's part of the Amu Darya and Afghan-Tajik basins of the north. Tethys is currently operating in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan (on the border of Afghanistan) and Uzbekistan and is the fastest growing independent oil and gas company in Central Asia.
The MOM states that tender will be completed at the end of July 2011.
The Afghanistan Ministry of Mines has announced the qualification of five bidders for oil exploration and production in the Amu Darya Basin of northern Afghanistan on April 6 2011. The companies are Buccaneer Energy of Australia, CNPC International, Petroleum Exploration (Pvt) Limited of Pakistan (a subsidiary of the Shahzad Group), Schlumberger of France, and Tethys Petroleum of the United Kingdom. H.E. Minister Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines, said, 'This group of bidders’ shows keen interest in the resource potential of Afghanistan’s oil and gas sector. We look forward to a successful tender round. The development of these blocks will increase opportunity, improve infrastructure, and enhance the lives of citizens in Afghanistan.'
Three blocks on offer are estimated to contain more than 80 million barrels of oil. One of the blocks, the Kashkari block, contains the Angot field that is currently in production. The other known reserves are not yet being produced. The Kashkari, Bazarkami, and Zamuradsay blocks contain not only known oil reserves, but also prospective areas that may contain additional oil and gas.
This is expected to be the first of several tenders for Afghanistan’s oil and gas resources over the next few years. According to the United States Geological Survey, northern Afghanistan is believed to contain undiscovered resources of more than 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 500 million barrels of natural gas liquids. At present the priority for hydrocarbon exploration is northern Afghanistan because of its similar geology to known regions. The geology is similar to the vast hydrocarbon reservoirs of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan across the northern border. However, other regions of Afghanistan are also believed to contain oil and gas potential as well.
The tender process is expected to be completed with the award of a contract by the end of July. Further information may be obtained at the Ministry of Mines website, www.mom.gov.af
Source: Tethys Petroleum / energy-pedia