The Oil and the Glory

Afghan tender to pit neighbors against Exxon

Afghanistan has set up a battle of global and regional bulls in the latest contest for its potential oil and gas riches. The country’s Ministry of Mines has announced eight finalists to bid for an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent in northern Afghanistan. ExxonMobil has been pitted against companies from bitter regional rivals ...

Afghanistan has set up a battle of global and regional bulls in the latest contest for its potential oil and gas riches. The country's Ministry of Mines has announced eight finalists to bid for an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent in northern Afghanistan. ExxonMobil has been pitted against companies from bitter regional rivals Pakistan and India -- Pakistan Petroleum and India's ONGC. Turkey's TPAO is also a powerful regional contestant. No finalists from China or Russia were on the list. But on Twitter, journalist Kabir Taneja suggested that Pakistan Petroleum has Chinese backing. 

Other finalists are Dubai-based Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, Petra Energia of Brazil and Thailand's PTT. Bids are to be submitted in October, and a winner chosen by the beginning of next year. An initial tender for Afghan oil last year generated criticism after it was won by the China National Petroleum Corp., because China has been the victor of other resource contests in the country. CNPC's apparent decision to sit out the latest tender could be a tactical decision with a long-term view of future Afghan tenders.

Afghanistan has set up a battle of global and regional bulls in the latest contest for its potential oil and gas riches. The country’s Ministry of Mines has announced eight finalists to bid for an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent in northern Afghanistan. ExxonMobil has been pitted against companies from bitter regional rivals Pakistan and India — Pakistan Petroleum and India’s ONGC. Turkey’s TPAO is also a powerful regional contestant. No finalists from China or Russia were on the list. But on Twitter, journalist Kabir Taneja suggested that Pakistan Petroleum has Chinese backing. 

Other finalists are Dubai-based Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, Petra Energia of Brazil and Thailand’s PTT. Bids are to be submitted in October, and a winner chosen by the beginning of next year. An initial tender for Afghan oil last year generated criticism after it was won by the China National Petroleum Corp., because China has been the victor of other resource contests in the country. CNPC’s apparent decision to sit out the latest tender could be a tactical decision with a long-term view of future Afghan tenders.

<p> Steve LeVine is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and author of The Oil and the Glory. </p>

More from Foreign Policy

The Pentagon is seen from the air over Washington, D.C., on Aug. 25, 2013.

The Pentagon’s Office Culture Is Stuck in 1968

The U.S. national security bureaucracy needs a severe upgrade.

The Azerbaijani army patrols the streets of Shusha on Sept. 25 under a sign that reads: "Dear Shusha, you are free. Dear Shusha, we are back. Dear Shusha, we will resurrect you. Shusha is ours."

From the Ruins of War, a Tourist Resort Emerges

Shusha was the key to the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Now Baku wants to turn the fabled fortress town into a resort.

Frances Pugh in 2019's Midsommar.

Scandinavia’s Horror Renaissance and the Global Appeal of ‘Fakelore’

“Midsommar” and “The Ritual” are steeped in Scandinavian folklore. Or are they?