• 9 hours U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 11 hours Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 13 hours Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 14 hours EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 16 hours Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 17 hours Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 3 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 3 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 4 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 4 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 4 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 4 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 4 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 4 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 4 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 5 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 5 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 5 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 5 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 5 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 5 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 5 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 6 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 6 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 6 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 6 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 6 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
  • 6 days Over 1 Million Bpd Remain Offline In Gulf Of Mexico
  • 6 days Turkmenistan To Spend $93-Billion On Oil And Gas Sector
  • 6 days Indian Hydrocarbon Projects Get $300 Billion Boost Over 10 Years
  • 7 days Record U.S. Crude Exports Squeeze North Sea Oil
  • 7 days Iraq Aims To Reopen Kirkuk-Turkey Oil Pipeline Bypassing Kurdistan
  • 7 days Supply Crunch To Lead To Oil Price Spike By 2020s, Expert Says
  • 7 days Saudi Arabia Ups November Oil Exports To 7-Million Bpd
  • 7 days Niger Delta State Looks To Break Free From Oil
  • 7 days Brazilian Conglomerate To Expand Into Renewables
  • 7 days Kurdish Independence Could Spark Civil War
  • 7 days Chevron, Total Waiting In The Wings As Shell Mulls Majnoon Exit
  • 7 days The Capital Of Coal Is Looking For Other Options
Alt Text

Kuwaiti Minister: OPEC Deal Extension May Be Unnecessary

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Al-Marzouk has…

Alt Text

Is The Aramco IPO On The Brink Of Collapse?

Conflicting news suggests that Saudi…

Hell in Tajikistan: Oil Discoveries a Potential Curse

A major oil find by Canada’s Tethys Petroleum in Tajikistan comes at a bad time for the Central Asian country, as the security situation is about to skyrocket out of control in a restive province on the border with Afghanistan.  

Last month, Tethys upgraded its oil and gas resources in Bokhtar to an estimated 8.5 billion barrels of oil and condensate and 114 trillion cubic feet of gas. Indeed, Tethys believes that the fields could trump those in the British North Sea. The company is now obtaining seismic data to pinpoint where they will establish Tajikistan’s first-ever deep, sub-salt well.

But the Bokhtar Production Sharing agreement is logistically and geopolitically challenged due to the fact that its wealth sits in the fossil-fuel-rich Amu-Darya basin, shared by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

It could have unexpected consequences for the country's dispute with its downstream neighbours over the construction of controversial hydroelectric power stations in its territory. The future of Afghanistan is also likely to pose some serious challenges to exploration and exploitation, particularly after 2014 when US forces largely withdraw.

The discovery catapults Tajikistan from a largely insignificant country in terms of fossil fuel resources, to a major player, and exporter, overnight. It will also change Tajikistan’s entire energy policy, which relies largely on hydropower schemes along the Amu-Darya River. And its dams continue to wreak havoc on relations with its neighbours, particularly Uzbekistan, which is concerned about the impact of the dams on its own agricultural output. More to the point, Tajikistan is probably concerned that its oil success will destroy its chances of building another massive (and massively controversial) dam the justification for which is that Tajikistan has no other energy recourse.

But dam disputes are the least of Tajikistan’s problems. The country faces elections next year, and the security situation is worsening quickly. August has seen a major increase in violence, particularly near the border with Afghanistan.

Government troops, fighting militants in the Pamir Mountains in earnest since 2010, have taken the conflict to a new height in the Badakhstan province, which borders with Afghanistan and China. This Pamir Mountain region was the scene of a bloody ethnic conflict that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The fighting was halted with a 1997 peace accord, but the situation in Afghanistan has helped to reignite conflict. 

On 21 July 2012, the head of the state security service was stabbed to death in Pamir province, and on 24 July Dushanbe decided this would be a good time to pick up the momentum and retaliated will full force. More than 2,000 soldiers descended on the homes of the militant gang leaders who are believed to control opium, tobacco and ruby smuggling in the province. In just over 24 hours, 30 militants were killed and 17 security forces (according to official estimates). Significantly, the government claimed to have rounded up some Afghan fighters in the melee. 

Tajikistan has now sealed all border-crossing points with Afghanistan, but is allowing NATO trucks to pass through.

At the same time, the most prominent opposition party in Tajikistan appears to be a target of attacks linked to the July violence in the Pamir Mountains. One leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) was killed and another has disappeared, both in Gorno-Badakhstan. Indeed, the government’s sudden uptick in activity in the province is likely linked to presidential elections and could be an attempt to remove opposition to the president, Emomali Rakhmon, whose tenure is not stable. 

Interestingly, there is little in the way of media exposure over Tajikistan’s oil discovery. Presumably, Dushanbe is attempting to determine how to use this to the incumbent’s advantage without destroying its dam dreams. But in the meantime, the government is helping to create a very volatile security situation on the Afghan border that could reverse the positive aspects of energy developments.

By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

Jen Alic is a geopolitical analyst, co-founder of ISA Intel in Sarajevo and Tel Aviv, and the former editor-in-chief of ISN Security Watch in Zurich.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News