August 7, 2006Foreign Affairs

And then, Afghanistan struck oil

Well, at least it looks like it

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Stephen Blank reports that Afghanistan’s economic fortunes may be about to turn:

In March, the US Geological Survey and the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industry reported that Afghanistan’s resource base was much greater than previously believed. According to their findings, undiscovered petroleum resources in northern Afghanistan range from 3.6 to 36.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, with a mean of 15.7 TCF. Estimates of oil range from 0.4 to 3.6 billion barrels (BBO), with a mean of 1.6 BB0. Estimates for natural gas liquids range from 126 to 1,325 million barrels (MMB) with a mean of 562 MMB. These estimates represent an 18-fold increase in the country’s potential oil resources, and more than triple the natural gas resources.

If accurate, the news could mark the turning point in Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts. [EurasiaNet]Blank argues that this development will make the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAP) gas pipeline more attractive, especially if India were to finally abandon the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline. The United States backs the TAP pipeline because the IPI pipeline would benefit Iran and Russia. Will American participation and security guarantees make a trans-Pakistan pipeline less risky for India? Will Afgans be drawn away from poppy cultivation and drug smuggling? Regional geopolitics may change, but the Afghan oil and gas find must be verified by independent research first.

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