SHIBERGHAN (PAN): The northern Jawzjan province has immense gas reserves but stringent measures are needed to exploit the natural resources of the province in larger national interests, locals said.
Bordering Turkmenistan, the province has five known areas rich in gas reservoirs. The natural gas is one of the valuable resources of Afghanistan but the country could not be able to exploit it judiciously.
The gas resources were discovered and extracted by the exploration directorate while the Afghan Gas Enterprise Directorate had the responsibility for its further distribution and sale.
Around 4,000 employees were working on the gas reservoirs sites.
The reservoirs of gas in Khaja Gogordak, Yatim Taq and Jerqoduq areas of Shiberghan city are being exploited currently. Dasht-e-Laili area of Qushtepa and Khaja Dukoh districts are another two areas rich in gas mines.
The mines were discovered in 1960 and exported to Soviet Union until 1988 but after a considerable time period, the Russians had to close that gas mine facility.
According to geological studies, around 40 billiards gas had been extracted from a total of 140 billiards cubic meters gas.
Totally 300 gas wells was certified by Russian and Afghan experts in 1960. And 36 of them are being exploited currently.
- Khaja Gogordak, Yatim Taq and Jerqoduq mines:
This time, 4,000 families and hundreds of shops and brick and lime kilns in Shiberghan and Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory in Balkh province utilize the 36 gas wells on subsidized prices.
The total amount of gas reserves being used in Shiberghan is estimated at 50,000 cubic meters.
- Jerqoduq mine:
This mine is located 15 kilometres southeast of Shiberghan city where 33 wells with 2,200 metres in depth have been dug. The total reserves of gas have been estimated 26 billiard cubic meters. Among these, 15,362 cubic metres gas has been extracted.
- Khaja Gogordak mine:
This mine is located 23 kilometres northwest of Shiberghan city with total reserves of 468 billiard cubic metres. A total of 44 cubic metres gas has been extracted. There are around 52 gas wells.
- Yatim Taq mine:
This mine is located 18 kilometres east of Shiberghan city with the reserves of 208 billiard cubic metres. In addition, 350,000 cubic meters gas is being provided daily to Mazar-i-Sharif’s Kod wa Barq factory. The pipeline from Shiberghan city to Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory is 55 kilometres in length and 12 inches in diameter with gas supply capacity of 500 million cubic meters per year.
Mobile police and other security forces are active to maintain security in the area of gas mines.
- Gas mine in Qoshtepah district:
This mine is located in Dasht-i-Laila area 60 kilometers north of Qoshtepah district. In 1960, Russian and Afghan experts started extraction of gas which used to be exported to Russia at that time.
- Khaja Dukoh district gas mine:
This mine is located in Bashikor, Juma Bazaar and Majid Qoduq areas of Dasht-i-Laila and Qushtepa district. Russian and Afghan expert started to work on its extraction in 1960 and then had to export to the former Soviet Union.
Similarly, the work of big gas supply project worth $ 57 million was started in April 2013.
The project contains extension of 94 kilometers new pipeline between Mazar-i-Sharif and Shiberghan along with installation of one sulfur-separation machine and excavation of eight new gas wells in Shiberghan.
The pipeline is extended at the cost of $32 million and similarly eight wells are rebuilt at the cost of $25 million which funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The work of two projects has been contracted among ministry of mine and American and Turkish representatives and will be completed by the mid 2014.
The Ministry of Mine said the US is committed to renew the pipeline from Khaja Gogorda of Jawzjan province to Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory.
The existing pipeline, 89 kilometres, has been in use for the last 30 years and has been partially damaged.
Similarly, eight gas wells had been reconstructed in the outskirts of Jerqoduq and Yatim Taq areas of Shiberghan city and distributed gas to Shiberghan and Mazar-i-Sharif residents. This part of the project is donated by the ADB.
According to the ministry, each well produces 260,000 cubic meters gas in a day. Also a sulfur separation machine planted at Jerqoduq area, purifying gas, which then becomes ready for further distribution.
Other mines in Jawzjan:
In addition, other small mineral reserves such as sand, lime and gypsum are abundant in Jawzjan which are mostly used in construction work.
These mines are located in Jerqoduq and Yatimtaq areas while gypsum was discovered 60 years ago and is being utilized up till now.
The government has imposed a tax of 1500 afghanis per loaded truck of the mines.
Provincial gas discovery directorate said south and southeast fields of Jawzjan are consisted of hills, which are rich in gas.