Three international companies bid for Afghan oil rights

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But 30 years of war have prevented their exploitation. With U.S.-led NATO troops due to withdraw and hand the fight against Taliban insurgents to Afghan security forces, concerns about the country’s future stability still weigh on international investors.

China National Petroleum Corporation and its Afghan partner the Watan Group recently began pumping Afghanistan’s first oil from a different section of the Afghan-Tajik Zone.

The new exploration and production contracts will be awarded in the first quarter of next year, the mines ministry said.

“Today’s bids to explore the Afghan-Tajik Basin and the strong response to the tender announcement earlier this year signify a profound interest from the international community to join with the people of Afghanistan to build a sound and growing economy,” mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said.

Tenders for other exploration blocks throughout Afghanistan would be offered in the future, he said.

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