Oil and Gas Resources

 Tirpul Oil Basin

The Tirpul basin covers an area of approximately 26,000km2 and is located to the West in the Herat Province. Exploration comprised  of geological mapping, seismic survey, shallow structural drilling and 5 deep exploration wells. Over 20 potential structures were identified; 3 were subjected to further deep exploration drilling. In Ahmadabad area, presence of oil in Palaeogene sediments was intersected at 840 meters and 1,190 meters; oil flowed at 6.7 cubic meters per day. With the application of  3-D Seismic and further exploration this area has potential to uncover large deposits in the area. 


Katawaz and Helmand Basins.

Negligible exploration has been undertaken in these basins and hence  remains untested, despite  of its favorable geological settings.


Exploration and Development

During the Soviet era, exploration and development were confined to Amu Darya and Afghan-Tajik basin, and to a lesser extent, Tirpul basin. Only 7,700 km of seismic profile had been shot and out of the 370 wells which were drilled only 59 were exploration wells. The level of exploration coverage with respect to the total basin size is considered very low. The success rate was 23percent.  No further petroleum exploration and development were ever undertaken since 1989, after the exit of the Soviet Union.

Limited volume of oil was produced unlike exploitation of significant gas volumes to the Soviet Union. Angot was the only oil field developed and used for local consumption.

  • The Angot oilfield, located 11 km E of Sari-e-Pul city, was the only one that sustained production till 2006. 15 wells were drilled of which 4 wells are classified as producers. Well #8 was the first production well in AfghanistanN Oil were produced from Hauterivian reservoir between 1083─1125m depths and consumed locally as heating fuel.
  • The Kashkari oilfield, located approximately 12 km south of Sari –e- Pul city had 10 wells drilled of which 4 were ascribed as production wells with extended flow tests occurring for up to 3 weeks per interval. The Hauterivian sandstone reservoir exists at depths between 1800 and 1950m.


Petroleum Reserves and Resources

Soviet Resource Estimate

Between 1957 and 1984, a total of 14 petroleum fields comprising 6 oil and 8 gas fields were discovered and developed. About 370 wells have been drilled in northern Afghanistan of which 59 of these wells are classified as exploration and 211 development wells. By 1989, 88 MMBO of recoverable reserves and a geological resource of 233 MMBO were estimated from the 6 identified oilfields in the Amu Darya-Tajik basins. Only five (5) oilfields (Angot, Kashkari, Bazarkami,  Zamarudsay and Aqdarya) contain significant accumulations, totaling 74 MMBO recoverable reserves and 219 MMBO geological reserves within the Hauterivian, Albian, and Aptian Formations (Cretaceous). Estimated reserves as at end of 1989 are shown below.

    Reserve Estimates
Initial Recoverable Reserves  88MMBO  5TCFG
Estimated Produced Volumes  0.17 MMBO  2TCFG
Remaining Reserves  87 MMBO  3TCFG

    USGS-AGS Petroleum Resource Assessment

However, recent re-assessment by USGS-AGS revealed significant undiscovered petroleum potential. USGS-AGS estimated 1.6 billion barrels (0.2 billion metric tons) of crude oil, 16

 Figure 4    Oil Potential in the Suprasalt Assessment Units, (After USGS, 2006).

trillion cubic feet (0.4 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas, and 0.5 billion barrels (0.8 billion metric tons) of natural gas liquids.

Most of the probable crude oil resource is in the Afghan-TajikBasin (Figure 4) and most of the probable natural gas  resource is in the Amu Darya Basin, (USGS, 2006).

Jurassic Evaporite Basin Subsalt carbonates  - Amu Darya Greatest Gas potential – 5,474 BCFG
Eastern Suprasalt Thrust and Folds – Afghan-Tajik Greatest Oil potential – 886 MMBO

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A Brief History of Natural Gas in Afghanistan

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