(Adds detail from Mines Ministry statement)
KABUL Nov 12 Three international firms have bid
for a six-block oil concession known as Afghan-Tajik in the
north of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Mines said on Monday,
adding that contracts are to be awarded early next year.
The bidders are Irish-listed Dragon Oil Plc, Kuwait
Energy, and Turkey's state-owned TPAO, the ministry said in a
The Afghan-Tajik basin holds an estimated 946 million
barrels of oil, according to the United States Geological
Survey, forming a natural resource whose exploitation the
government hopes will reduce its dependence on foreign aid.
Bids will be reviewed by a ministerial panel in a process
that international observers will oversee.
"The Ministry of Mines plans to award Exploration and
Production Sharing Contracts in the first quarter of 2013," the
ministry said, without giving details of the bids.
Last month, China's CNPC started extracting oil from the Amu
Darya basin in Afghanistan, though the Afghan-Tajik concessions
are eventually expected to yield much more oil.
(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and