Afghanistan announces Qualification of Bidders for Oil Tender

April 6, 2011

The Afghanistan Ministry of Mines is pleased to announce the qualification of four bidders for oil exploration and production in the Amu Darya Basin of northern Afghanistan.  The companies are Buccaneer Energy of Australia (ASX: BCC), CNPC International Ltd., Petroleum Exploration (Pvt) Limited of Pakistan (a subsidiary of the Shahzad Group), Schlumberger Limited of France (NYSE: SLB), and Tethys Petroleum of the United Kingdom (TSX: TPL).  They are each experienced international oil companies with substantial operations.

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 the 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 .
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