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Afghanistan
Oil Extraction from Amu Darya Basin
Posted:Jun 26, 2012
 
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Masood Korosh

According to reports, finally, the much debated oil extraction from the Amu Darya Basin started. However, the level of production is not clear but previously Ministry of Mines and industry had told that in the first phase 5,000 barrel per day would be extracted and would increase multifold and reach to 45,000 barrel per day in the second phase.

Over the very issue, previously General Rashid Dostum, a highly influential member of Afghanistan National Front (ANF), a challenging coalition against President Karzai, was blamed for illegal use of force for banning of oil extraction. Some government officials called on Attorney General to persecute him, a problem which later on was resolved by direct intervention of President Karzai.

In his defense,Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostom clearly explained that he was worried of highly possible corruption. There was no transparency and moreover local people might benefit least.Local people are not employed rather employees are handpicked by government or particular circles having close links with key administrative and political figures from other parts of the country.

There is no data available to show whether his concerns were met and local people are recruited or not. The extraction has started and amidst mounting concern over level of corruption in civil and political establishment. It is widely suspected that rich mineral resources of Afghanistan might shrink rapidly with no palpable changes to common people's lives.Early, this month, economic adviser to European Union, Mehradad Emadi, wrote an article about mineral resources of Afghanistan.

Seemingly, he was amazed by recent acceptance of Afghanistan as observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the promises and willingness of Russia and China, the two key members ofthe organization, of financial support and large investment to rebuild Afghanistan.

According to his briefing, the main reason behind such amove was rich mineral resources which are key factors for fuelling economic growth and development. And both China and Russia are in needing order to maintain their currently high economic growth.

Anyhow, the total oil resource revealed yet talk about existence of around two billion barrel. In such a case and in simple calculation,assuming the each barrel at price of $100, the total price of oil minerals goes beyond $150 billion dollars which is an astonishing sum for country with GDP of just 11 billion dollar.

In another word, if the country increases its capacity to produce100,000 barrel per day, the oil resources will last for more than 50years.
Moreover, Afghanistan is rich in terms of mineral resources. The estimated total price is calculated by foreign scientist around a trillion dollars while officials in ministry of industry and mines put the number to three trillion dollars. The quality and kind of mineral resources is another issue to be discussed.

The mineral of lithium one of the rarest as well as highly essential elements is too large as some used terms of like "Afghanistan is the Saudi Arabia of Lithium". It is used in production of chargeable batteries of computers, cell phones and other highly prevalent and expansive technologies.

The mounting pressure by environmental activists and the global project for greening of the earth will more than ever push the price of lithium remarkably up. There are global efforts around the world to bring down the level of green house gases concentration in atmosphere through using clean energies for industries.

Many countries have already levied carbon-tax in order to appreciate industrial productions with least effect on environment and increase their energy efficiency. Presently, automobile companies compete with one another to produce cars with least effect on environment by making them more energy efficient. There are hybrid automobiles, using electricity and fossil fuels alternatively.
Annually, companies reveal new types of electric cars in order to prevent the global warming.

In such technologies, lithium is a key element. It is capable of saving the energy. Therefore, it is said that lithium is the oil of tomorrow. Such large and valuable underground resources are the cause of optimism and perhaps it is right that many countries are eager to invest in the field of mineral resources.

Meanwhile, it should be noticed that selling minerals without processing inside the country has no major effects on people's lives.
However, it is too large and can bring welfare to people if transparency be considered and level of corruption diminished. But there are potentials to change Afghanistan from currently poorest rank to a powerful economic power in the region, as Mehrdad Emadi wrote in his article.

The profit of Afghanistan minerals is that large that can attract global companies with huge capital if the security situation gets better and they become confident that their asset would not be lost here. What is far more important is not the extraction of minerals and creation of jobs for just few thousand Afghans.

If these raw materials be processed inside the country and the "surplus value" be added to them, the Afghanistan can be changed into an industrial country not in very long future. Adding surplus value to minerals, on one hand, can increase coefficient of total value, on the other hand, broadens job market.Is government capable of such measures? Unfortunately, the answer is no. the above things I wrote seem much more like fantasy or unreachable dream.

The security situation is terrible and no one is ready to take such high risk, but it is not clear what will happen after 2014. Would government make militants to lay down arms and let the country bounce to normality? It is too early to judge about this issue.

Masood Korosh is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmial.com

The Daily Outlook, 27 June 2012

 

 
 
 
 
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Author: Raghu Rai Publisher: Niyogi Books Price: Rs 1495 Pages: 115

 
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BOOK: "False Sanctuaries: Stories from the Troubled Territories of South Asia", AUTHOR: Meenakshi Iyer;  PUBLISHER: Bibliophile South Asia (Promila & Co.);  PAGES: 282; 

 
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Like so much else in India’s recent past, the First Afghan War (1839-42) means little to India’s elites. But the military history of the British Raj has been a specially neglected domain. With their many other preoccupations, India&...

 
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Journalist-author Frances Harrison tells ANJANA RAJAN her book on the human suffering engendered by Sri Lanka’s “hidden war” is written with the belief that if people know, they will care

 
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"La Nueva India" ( The New India) is the first Latin American book on the rising of India in the twenty first century in the Spanish language. It was launched on December 4 at Santiago, Chile.

 
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After Joseph S Nye coined the term “Soft Power” (culture, language etc), it became a fad and, for some, an academic necessity to use it to discuss notions of ‘power’ in international politics. Though accepted, still unmo...

 
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This study seeks to solve the following puzzle: In 1947, the Pakistan military was poorly trained and poorly armed. It also inherited highly vulnerable territory vis-à-vis the much bigger India, aggravated because of serious disputes wit...

 
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Author / Editor: P R Kumaraswamy   Middle East Institute at New Delhi, 2012   Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon for MEI@ND, September 2012  

 
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Book: Ramkinkar: The Man and the Artist Author: A. Ramachandran Publisher: NGMA Pages: 168 + plates

 
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The middle class will decide the course of liberalisation in India which will become more micro-level in search of solutions to problems, says writer and journalist Hindol Sengupta in his new book, "The Liberals".

 
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The future of Afghanistan depends upon how it strengthens its fledgling democratic institutions and arrests corruption, says Sujeet Sarkar, the author of a new book on the war-ravaged country.

 
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Author(s): Bipul Chatterjee and Joseph George Publisher: CUTS International

 
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Author(s): Robert D. Lamb, Liora Danan, Joy Aoun, Sadika Hameed, Kathryn Mixon, and Denise St. Peter Publisher :Center for Strategic and International Studies ISBN 978-0-89206-738-1 (pb)

 
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Book: Afghanistan in Transition Beyond 2014? Author: Shanthie Mariet D`Souza (Ed.) Pages: 264 Price : Rs. 795 Publisher: Pentagon  

 
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Book: The Prabhakaran Saga Author: S. Murari Publisher: Sage Publishers Pages: 362 Price: Rs.425

 
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Authors: Rumel Dahiya and Ashok K. Behuria 2012

 
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Book: The Unfinished Memoirs Author: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Translated by Dr Fakrul Alam with a preface by Sheikh Hasina) Publisher: Penguin Viking Pages: 323 Price: Rs 699

 
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The book is a chronological account of the partiation of Punjab Province of British India

 
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Book: Nepal in Transition: From People’s War to Fragile Peace Author: Edited by Sebastian von Einsiedel, David M. Malone and Suman Pradhan Publisher: Cambridge University Press Pages: 398...

 
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Book: The Taliban Cricket Club Author: Timeri N. Murari Publisher: Aleph Pages: 325 Price: Rs 595

 
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Burma has been ruled by a succession of military regimes which rank among the most oppressive dictatorships in the world.

 
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In these turbulent times, Jawaharlal Nehru's policies of non-alignment and mixed economy need to be revisited, says P.C. Jain, author of a book on India's foreign policy during the first prime minister's tenure.

 
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The killing of Osama bin Laden spotlighted Pakistan's unpredictable political dynamics, which are often driven by conspiracy theory, paranoia, and a sense of betrayal. In Pakistan, the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto famously declared, t...

 
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The growing English language publishing industry in India has taken a step north with three veteran publishers - David Davidar, Ravi Singh and Kapish G. Mehra - joining ranks to push high-end literary fiction from the subcont...

 
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The subcontinent can become a paradise in the region by retaining cultural, social and political identities of countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, says former Pakistani Army officer, journalist, writer and commentator Abdul Rahman Si...