KABUL (PAN): The Council of Ministers on Monday approved an agreement with three companies for fuel exploration and production at the Afghan-Tajik basin in the north.
Afghanistan is expected to earn $16 billion from exploitation of the oil and gas reserves over the next 25 years, according to the Ministry of Mines.
At a meeting chaired by President Hamid Karzai, the Cabinet discussed the agreement with the Turkish company TAPO, Kuwaiti firm Dragon Oil and the Ghazanfar Group of Afghanistan.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani briefed participants on contents of the agreement on the development of oil reserves in Mazar-i-Sharif and the Afghan-Tajik basin, the Cabinet Secretariat said.
In order to meet international practices and standards, the agreement had been revised in compliance with the directive of a government commission, the minister told the meeting.
Afghanistan would gain enormous economic strength with the development of its huge oil and gas deposits, Shahrani was quoted as saying in a statement from the Cabinet Secretariat.
Following a detailed discussion, the Council of Ministers endorsed the accord that the commission found consistent with global standards and in Afghanistan’s interest.
Shahrani also floated recommendations for resolving technical, financial and security problems facing the Ainak Copper Project in central Logar province.
The mine, located 30 kilometres southeast of Kabul, is believed to contain more than 12 million tonnes of copper deposits.
China's Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) is developing the mine, a project involving the largest foreign investment in Afghanistan's history.