TPAO makes a surprise in Afghanistan

The Afghan government says it has shortlisted companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for a major oil and gas exploration project, a step in the country’s quest to reap revenues from its vast untapped mineral and energy resources.

Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Monday that bids from Dubai’s Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. have been selected for the tender involving exploration rights in the Tajik Basin in northern Afghanistan.

The basin’s oil reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion barrels. The government vowed the bids will be considered in a "thorough, transparent, and fair bidding process until the announcement of the results of the evaluation process."

The statement said the contract would be signed in March.

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