Exploration Advances In The Face Of Security, Governance Challenges
BMI View: Formal approval of a contract for two blocks in Afghanistan highlights interest in the country's prospective but importantly relatively more stable northern areas. However in light of continued challenges relating to security and governance, we see high risks that interest in Afghanistan's resource potential may well fail to overcome such concerns .
Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum announced a formal contract for two blocks, Sanduqli and Mazar-i-Sharif . The blocks were issued under the Afghan-Tajik Phase 1 Oil & Gas Tender and awarded to a consortium comprised of Dragon Oil (40%), TPAO (40%) and Afghan based Ghazanfar Group (20%) . The exploration areas border Turkmenistan and Uzbeki stan and while exploration in the area to dat e has been limited, a recent 2D survey conducted by the Afghan Ministry of Mines points to the presence of potentially commercial quantities of hydrocarbons in the Afghan-Tajik Basin.
Sizable oil and gas deposits are thought to have accumulated in the Cretaceous and Jurassic horizons of the basin, which is located between the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. Afghan officials also cite the region's pre-salt potential while noting geological similarities to proven hydrocarbon plays in neighbouring Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
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