Afghanistan has five known crude oil sites located in Amu River basin in the north, Helmand, Herat and Katawaz in the southeastern province of Paktika.
Amu River basin
The sedimentary crude oil zone of Amu River is situated in the north and northwest of the country bordering Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
The crude oil zone is stretched over 75,000 square kilometres. Officially, its survey started with the collaboration of former Soviet Union in 1958 following an agreement between the two counties. Sources said around 500 digging spots had been identified. So far 67 spot have been explored in which eight had natural gas and six contained crude oil.
It is estimated that these reserves hold 962 million barrels of crude oil and 52 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The original reserves had 120 billion cubic feet of natural gas of which 57.5 billion cubic feet gas had been utilised. In terms of reserves, the Amu crude oil and gas zone is considered to be 15 in the rank out of total 152 oil and gas zones in the world.
Drilling, worth $12.5 million, in the 480 square kilometresSizmak Afghan-Tajik crude oil zone has been completed by a Canadian company (Terrasais). The excavation contract of its oil has been awarded to a Chinese company for 25 years, which will annually extract 15,000 barrels of crude oil a day and Afghan government would get $400 million of revenue annually.
The Afghan government would receive 70 percent of the profit and the average excavation of oil would reach to 300,000 barrels a day in the coming two years. The Ministry of Interior has assured full security of the area. The law enforcement agencies are working hard to protect the site from attacks by militants.
The Afghan-Tajik Crude Oil Zone
Situated in the north and northeast of Afghanistan, the Afghan-Tajik crude oil zone is stretched over about 31,000 square kilometres area along the 360 kilometres border with Turkmenistan.
The zone extends from Takhar to Jawzjan province, bordering the Hindukush Mountains in the east, Amu River in the north and west and Alburz Mountain in the south. The oil zone is also stretched to the border territory of Tajikistan. Geologists have discovered several sites of oil and gas reserves in the other side of the border. The Tajik-Afghan crude oil zone was discovered in 1958 with a reserve of around 946 million barrels of crude oil and 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The worth of Afghan-Tajik oil and gas zone is estimated at $123 billion. The sedimentary Afghan-Tajik oil and gas zone is divided into 12 blocks. Excavation contract of two blocks have been awarded to three companies. The companies are set to invest $1.6 billion in the first five years and would further enhance their investments up to $12 billion in the coming 12 years.
The two blocks have the capacity to produce 514 million barrels of crude oil and 91 billion cubic metres of natural gas. According to the contract, the two blocks would fulfil the energy needs of Afghanistan. In the first stage of the extraction process of the two blocks, as many as 1,000 individual would be provided with work opportunities and the number of jobs would go up to 12,000 in the later stage.
Oil Fields in Herat
Situated in the Islam Qala district in the western province of Herat, theTirpul crude oil zone is located 95 kilometres from the Iranian border. This zone is stretched over an area of 14,000 square kilometres.
Exact information about the volume of crude oil has not been established yet; however, exploratory work is underway. Geologists believe that the zone one of the Tirpul oil and gas field has enough reserves and predict easy excavation at the site.
The Katawaz zone is located in the southeast of the country. Its depth reaches up to 6,000 metres and is stretched over an area of 4,000 square kilometres.
The Department of Petroleum had signed a contract of geological survey with Total, a French company in 1957.The company was expected to invest $2 million in two-and-a-half-years in search for oil and gas in Katawaz oil zone. However after spending more than $3 million, Total paid the Ministry of Mines to finish implementing the contract. The work involved technical survey, stratigraphy, geographical surveys, measure the hydrocarbon reserves, identify the existence of other mineralsand geological survey of various layers under the surface.
Geologists say Katawaz crude oil zone reserves stretch inside Pakistan. The recent exploration of oil and gas in the border area with Pakistan supported the predictions of the geologists.
Helmand Crude Oil Zone
This site is situated in a desert and stretched over an area of 131,000 square kilometres. The depth of its layers reaches up to six kilometres. However, further geological surveys have not yet taken place.
In addition, five more crude oil zones have been predicted by NASA maps, saying as many as 100 zones of crude oil and natural gas exist in Afghanistan.