Kabul (Pajhwok): Economic experts believe that extraction of Katawaz crude oil in southeastern Paktika province will help strengthen the economy of the country.
Initially started in 1970, the exploration of Katawaz crude oil reserves had to be postponed due to uncertainty in the country. The deposits were discovered during Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan’s government.
Some areas of Sharan, the provincial capital, Yousafkhel, Yahyakhel, Zarghoon Shahr, Janikhel, Khushamand, Wazakhwa and Tarwa district are parts of the Katawaz region of Paktika.
According to the preliminary survey conducted in Zarghoon Shahr, Janikhel, and Khushamand districts, the area containing crude oil reserves is estimated to be 40,000 square kilometers.
Deputy Governor Attaullah Fazli and director mining Eng. Naqibullah Dilbarzoai said that an agreement for oil exploration in Katawaz locality was signed with the Total French Company.
Under the contract, the company was bound to complete the exploration process within 30 months at a cost of $2 million. The officials said that Total had abandoned the exploration in the area and did not complete the surveys as well.
Ibrahim Adil, former minister of mining, supported the governor’s views that the Total was invited to explore the Katawaz crude oil reserves during Daud Khan regime.
Following the beginning of cold war, former Soviet Union was against European and US interference in Afghanistan. In addition, Pakistan was also middling in internal affairs of Afghanistan.
The ex-minister said the excavation of Katawaz crude oil was important for the economic growth of the country. He said the newly elected government should immediately launch work on the sight.
Petroleum expert Javed Noorani said that Iran and Pakistan did not want the excavation of Katawaz crude oil.
However, he said the excavation of Katawaz oil reserves could leave positive impact on the economy of both countries.
Noorani said that it was the duty of government to survey and explore its riches and utilize it for the benefit of the masses.
Abdul Qadir Kharoti, Paktika representative in Wolesi Jirga, said due to political differences further development could not be achieved over the exploration and excavation of Katawaz oil reserve.
Deputy Governor Fazli said Paktika had variety of natural reserves but lack of funds was hampering the exploration process.
Khanbir Hakimi, an employee of borders and tribal affairs ministry, said preliminary survey included seven dug-wells in the area which had the crude oil reserves and could fulfill national need for 500 years.
Zaftoon Khan, tribal elder of Khairkot district, said during Daud Khan Regime an employee of French Company had said that 250 metres deep single dug-well could cater petroleum needs of the province.
During earlier survey conducted in the area, he said it was revealed that four types of oil existed in the reserves but now the area was infested by rebels.
Experts said the fresh surveys conducted by Pakistani authorities had led to discovery of oil and gas reserves on other sided of Durand Line, in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and South Waziristan Agency (SWA).