CNPC gets three Afghanistan Amu Darya blocks

China National Petroleum Corp. has been awarded three Amu Darya basin exploratory blocks in Afghanistan’s 2011 license round.

The blocks are understood to be Kashkari, Bazarkhami and Zamarudsay, which surround and lie east of the city of Faizabad in northwestern Afghanistan (see map, OGJ, May 4, 2009, p. 52).

Press reports said the Afghan cabinet approved the 25-year deal, which is to be signed in late January 2012, and that field work will likely begin in late 2012.

The Amu Darya basin contains giant gas-condensate fields across the border in Turkmenistan. Each of CNPC’s blocks contains one or more oil fields discovered in earlier years. The Kashkari block, which covers 425,753 acres, includes Angot, discovered in 1967 and understood to be Afghanistan’s only oil field to have been on sustained production.

Angot is 12 km south of the town of Sari Pol, site of Afghanistan’s only refinery.

Five companies had initially qualified to bid in the round: Buccaneer Energy of Australia, CNPC International Ltd., the Petroleum Exploration (Pvt.) Ltd. subsidiary of the Shahzad Group of Pakistan, Schlumberger Ltd. of France, and Tethys Petroleum of the UK (OGJ Online, Apr. 18, 2011).

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