China Begins Pumping Lots Of Oil In Afghanistan
by James Dunnigan
November 17, 2012
A Chinese firm has begun pumping oil from a well in the northwest (the Amu Darya basin). This is a first for Afghanistan and the Chinese expect to get 2,000 barrels a day from this well and is drilling others. The Chinese contract was signed ten months ago. China is building a refinery in the north as well, which could make Afghanistan able to eliminate nearly all fuel imports.
Last year the government made a deal with China to allow Chinese oil companies to explore for oil up there. The government had to send 300 police to guard the Chinese as a local warlord was demanding payments to allow the exploration. Potential foreign investors are trying to convince Afghan leaders to get the corruption and violence under control, at least in areas where lots of minerals, oil, and natural gas are found. Exporting these raw materials (mostly via the northern routes) would be a major boost to the Afghan economy.
Too often local warlords and greedy government officials steal so much (in bribes and outright theft) that foreign investors quit or simply won’t come in. A lot of senior Afghan leaders realize how this has to work, but will that be enough to make it work?
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