Tajikistan: There’s Oil and Gas in Them Thar Hills
Tajikistan is sitting on “super-giant” oil and gas reserves, says the head of a Canadian firm prospecting in the country’s southwest since 2008. Tethys Petroleum says Tajikistan may have more hydrocarbons than what remains in the British segments of the North Sea. The company’s stock surged in London on the July 19 announcement. Such a reserve, if extracted (and shared with the people), could radically alter the economy of Central Asia’s poorest state. The announcement came after Gustavson Associates, an American mining consultancy, estimated that seismic data shows Tethys’s Bokhtar Production Sharing Contract (PSC) area contains 27.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, including 114 trillion cubic feet of gas and 8.5 billion barrels of oil and condensate. The 25,000-square kilometer Bokhtar PSC is a “highly prospective region which has existing oil and gas discoveries but which has seen limited exploration to date,” according to Tethys’s website. “Tethys is operating in a world class basin with enormous and untapped potential,” said CEO David Robson in a press release. “The deep prospects being pursued in Tajikistan have 'super-giant' potential and any exploration success will be transformational for the company.”The press release cautioned, however, that the reserves are not definite and a variety of factors (including “government regulation” and “political issues” – realistic concerns in a country as corrupt as Tajikistan) could prevent Tethys from extracting the oil and gas.Tethys also operates in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The company’s website says it “derives its name from the Tethys Ocean, which covered Central Asia and surrounding areas some 250 million years ago.”The seismic evaluation will continue this summer and Tethys plans to release data by the fourth quarter of 2012.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.