ExxonMobil grab at Afghan oil

This video says about itself:

17 September 2012

Jere Van Dyk is a former TV correspondent and Taliban expert (and was once held captive by them). He believes the Taliban is poorly understood in the West, but that better understanding is key for US foreign policy. He shares his views with RT that ‘US has never been straight with its people about its foreign policy aims’, that US is in Afghanistan not for Al-Qaeda, but OIL.

By Steve LeVine in the USA:

Surprise: ExxonMobil will bid for Afghan oil play

Posted By Steve LeVine Sunday, July 1, 2012 – 11:08 AM Share

ExxonMobil confirms that it has filed to bid on a group of Afghanistan oilfields containing an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil and gas, an instant validation of one of the riskiest resource plays on the planet. If the company’s application proceeds, it could set up a battle of colossals, since the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. and India’s ONGC have also filed to bid, I have been told.

The tender deadline was yesterday to file an expression of interest. Company spokesman Alan Jeffers told me that the filing is among Exxon’s global search for new hydrocarbon opportunities. The filings are to be made official after a government meeting Wednesday at which applications will be vetted.

The Exxon filing is surprising because until now the Afghan natural resource play, while rich, has been perceived as highly speculative, a place for the most daring wildcatters, in addition to regional state-owned companies such as CNPC, which won the first Afghan oil tender last year. The reason is both security — no one knows whether a 30- 40-year project would endure since Afghanistan has been at almost constant war for more than three decades — and the lack of infrastructure. Namely, how do you get the oil and gas to the market? Majors of the scale of Exxon rarely pursue such ventures, preferring for wildcatters to prove them out, then seek to buy in with their deep pockets.

Potential for a mining boom splits factions in Afghanistan: here.

Afghanistan aid conference signals indefinite foreign occupation: here.

Dozens of men and women took to the streets of Kabul today to protest against the recent public murder of an Afghan woman accused of adultery whose killing was captured on video: here.

Afghan authorities are investigating former Afghan Surgeon General Zia Yaftali after reports of patient abuse at a U.S.-backed military hospital in Kabul, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday: here.

An Afghan prison chief was jailed for 16 years on Tuesday for raping a teenage girl, a rare show of justice for women in a country where they are suffering increased violence and offered scant protection from the law: here.

Afghan Women’s Shelters, A Lifeline For Many, Face Uncertain Future: here.

27 thoughts on “ExxonMobil grab at Afghan oil

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  5. Afghanistan shortlists 3 companies for oil project

    Published: November 12, 2012

    By SLOBODAN LEKIC — Associated Press

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government has shortlisted companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for a major oil and gas exploration project, a step in the country’s quest to reap revenues from its vast untapped mineral and energy resources.

    Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Monday that bids from Dubai’s Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. have been selected for the tender involving exploration rights in the Tajik Basin in northern Afghanistan.

    The basin’s oil reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion barrels.

    The government said in a statement that the bids will be considered in a “thorough, transparent, and fair bidding process until the announcement of the results of the evaluation process,” adding that the contract will be signed in March. The statement said 20 international companies had expressed interest in the project and that eight were judged eligible, including Texas-based Exxon Mobil.

    The Tajik Basin is located between the northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. The tender includes the six blocks known to contain hydrocarbon reserves. The blocks may be awarded to a single bidder or to multiple bidders, the ministry said.

    Afghanistan has been looking for ways to exploit some of its mineral wealth to offset the loss of revenues when foreign aid and spending drops in step with the withdrawal of international combat troops by year-end 2014. The government has been keen to develop an oil-extraction and refining capability for the landlocked nation, which is entirely reliant on fuel imports from neighboring Iran and Central Asian countries.

    Afghanistan’s mineral wealth – estimated at up to $3 trillion dollars – has been detailed in several surveys, the most extensive of which were conducted by the Soviets in the 1970s. Mining companies, both Afghan and foreign, have already shown interest, notably in its copper, iron and oil. Also highly sought are so-called rare earth elements, used in cell phones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines and by the defense industries.

    But most mineral riches are scattered throughout the country, including in the war-wracked southern and eastern areas.

    China’s National Petroleum Corporation became the first foreign company to start oil production extraction in Afghanistan, and is scheduled to build the country’s first refinery within the next three years.

    The Chinese firm’s contract covers gas blocks in Sari Pul and Faryab, an area known as the Amu Darya River Basin that was first explored by Soviet engineers in the 1960s.

    China has also made a hefty investment in Afghan minerals, signing a $3 billion contract to mine copper.



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