KABUL – In a significant development, the Taliban government has taken a major step by initiating oil extraction in the Qashqari oilfield situated in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul.
The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, under Taliban authority, has revealed that the Qashqari basin comprises ten wells, with oil extraction operations currently underway in nine of them, resulting in an output of around 200 tonnes. However, officials have ambitious plans to increase the extraction capacity to over 1,000 tonnes. This initiative stems from an agreement signed between the Taliban and a Chinese company last year, granting the company the rights to extract oil from Sar-e-Pul.
Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar, the acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, has emphasized the importance of employing both technical and non-technical staff and utilizing the revenue generated from Sar-e-Pul to reconstruct the mine. Additionally, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has disclosed that the construction of a gas pipeline from Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif has commenced. This project, estimated to cost 609 million Afs, will be funded by the interim government. The pipeline is expected to span 95 kilometers and reach completion within three years.
Delawar explained, “The pipeline will begin from Sheberghan and extend to Kod-e-Barq in Mazar-e-Sharif. Prior to this, a pipeline was constructed here about 52 years ago. However, that pipeline is now old and dilapidated.” The new pipeline will have the capacity to transport 170,000 cubic meters of gas per day.
Furthermore, the Taliban government has secured a 25-year agreement with a Chinese company for oil extraction from the Amu River basin, as well as the development of an oil reserve in the northern region. The initial investment from the Chinese company amounts to $150 million, with expectations of reaching $540 million within three years. Delawar has stated that preparations for oil extraction in 16 wells will be completed within the next year. He also emphasized the need to process the extracted oil within Afghanistan, highlighting ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity of existing refineries in Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif to achieve 100% domestic processing.
This recent move by the Taliban-led government, involving oil extraction and investment in infrastructure projects, demonstrates their focus on leveraging Afghanistan’s natural resources for economic development. As the nation embarks on these endeavors, attention will be drawn to the impact on local communities and the broader geopolitical landscape.