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    Bidding for Afghan-Tajik basin in March: official

    KABUL (PAN): A mines ministry official on Saturday said oil and gas fields at the Afghan Tajik basin in the northeast are being assessed ahead of a bidding process beginning on March 7.

    The assessment launched on January 7 by a Canadian company would be completed on March 1, the mines ministry spokesman, Jawad Omar, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    A month ago, mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said Russian researchers in 1980 had estimated 15 trillion cubic metres of oil and gas at the Amu River and the Afghan-Tajik basins.

    Shahrani has also said the value of fuel in the Amu River basin had been estimated at 87 million barrels, but it could more than estimated.

    On December 28, 2011, Afghanistan and China signed their first-ever oil and gas deal that would earn the landlocked country $7 billion (344.4 billion afghanis) over the next two decades and a half.

    Under the major oil exploration agreement, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will develop three oil fields along the Amu River in northern Sar-i-Pul and Faryab provinces.

    Shahrani and CNPC President Lu Gong Xun signed the accord, giving Afghanistan 70 percent of net profits.

    frm/ma



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