Taliban announces auction of Afghanistan’s oil and gas fields, Chinese companies show interest

The Taliban’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum announced in a newsletter on Saturday its plans to put a number of Afghanistan’s oil and liquid gas fields up for auction.

The announcement came after the group’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Shahabuddin Delawar, met with a Chinese company delegation, who expressed interest in investing in the country’s rich oil and gas resources.

According to the newsletter, Delawar welcomed foreign companies’ interest in Afghanistan’s mineral resources, stating “Afghanistan possesses abundant oil and liquid gas resources, and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum will put up several of the country’s oil and liquid gas fields for auction. All interested parties are welcome to legally take part in the bidding process.”

Since the Taliban’s return to power, Chinese companies have shown considerable interest in Afghanistan’s resources, with the group having already awarded the Chinese company, Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co (CAPEIC), the extraction of oil from northern Afghanistan’s Amu Darya basin.

The 25-year project worth $540 million was signed in January, and the Chinese company will extract oil from an area of 4,500 square meters in the Northern provinces of Sar-i-pul, Jowzjan, and Faryab, estimated to contain 87 million barrels of oil.

Golchin, another Chinese company expressed its willingness last month to invest $10 billion in Afghanistan’s lithium mines in a meeting with the Taliban’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum.