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Since the 1990s, Washington has promoted a natural gas pipeline south through Afghanistan. The route would pass through Kandahar province. In 2007, Richard Boucher, U.S. assistant secretary of state, said: "One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan," and to link South and Central Asia "so that energy can flow to the south."
The proposed pipeline is called TAPI, after the initials of the four participating countries (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India).
The rivalry continues with plans for new gas pipelines to Europe from Russia and the Caspian region. . . Meanwhile, Iran is planning a pipeline to deliver gas east to Pakistan and India. Pakistan has agreed in principle, but India has yet to do so. It's an alternative to the long-planned, U.S.-supported pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
A little publicized agreement signed in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad has highlighted once again the real motives behind the US military intervention into Afghanistan - access to and domination of Central Asian oil and gas. The deal between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan establishes the basis for construction of a $1.9 billion pipeline from the Turkmen natural gas fields at Daulatabad through to the south-western Pakistani port of Gawadar.
Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's ties to the US oil industry are well known, but the connections do not stop there. Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan is Zalmay Khalilzad, also a key adviser to the National Security Council. In the mid-1990s, Khalilzad was the Unocal consultant hired to push through the pipeline project in Afghanistan. Ten days after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in 1996, he wrote a comment in the Washington Post extolling the virtues of the pipeline for Afghanistan. But he added, referring to the Taliban: "These projects will only go forward if Afghanistan has a single authoritative government.". . .
Most of the major energy giants including Chevron Texaco, Exxon Mobil, BP and Halliburton have invested substantial sums in the region.
"It is absolutely essential that the U.S. make the pipeline the centerpiece of rebuilding Afghanistan," says S. Rob Sobhani, a professor of foreign relations at Georgetown University and the head of Caspian Energy Consulting. The State Department thinks it's a great idea, too. Routing the gas through Iran would be avoided, and Central Asian republics wouldn't have to ship through Russian pipelines.
As described in many accounts, notably the recently published "Osama Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth" by Jean Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasique, a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) consortium led by Unocal had plans for a 1,005 mile oil pipeline and a 918 mile natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. This project stalled because of the political instability in Afghanistan.
[A] study by the Institute for Afghan Studies placed the total worth of oil and gas reserves in the Central Asian republics at around US$3 trillion at last year's prices. Not only can Afghanistan play a role in hosting pipelines connecting Central Asia to international markets, but the country itself has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets' decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s.
Production in this area now is about 1 million barrels a day. But daily production could rise to 3.4 million barrels or more by 2010 if a way is found to get the energy onto world markets. That's where Afghanistan becomes an intriguing option. During the 1990s, several groups of international energy companies considered building a massive pipeline from Central Asia to the sea, where ships could transport the oil to the world. One option was a pipeline to Turkey via Azerbaijan. Another was a pipeline across Iran to the Persian Gulf. A third option, considered by Unocal and others, was to construct a 1,040-mile pipeline that would cross Afghanistan to the Pakistani coast. The Afghan option made the most sense geographically, but never really went anywhere because of concerns about the Taliban and political instability. But the Bush administration now has the unique opportunity to push through the Afghan option. Almost everyone would reap enormous rewards.
According to the book, the government of Bush began to negotiate with the Taliban immediately after coming into power in February. U.S. and Taliban diplomatic representatives met several times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad. To polish their image in the United States, the Taliban even employed a U.S. expert on public relations, Laila Helms. The authors claim that Helms is also an expert in the works of U.S. secret services, for her uncle, Richard Helms, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The last meeting between U.S. and Taliban representatives took place in August, five weeks before the attacks on New York and Washington, the analysts maintain.
But when peace and a stable government eventually comes to Kabul, US oil companies will be looking closely at Afghanistan because it offers the shortest route to the Gulf for Central Asia's vast quantities of untapped oil and gas. The companies have invested $30 billion in developing oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan but exporting to the West involves lengthy and expensive pipelines.
This is the region both west and east have their eyes on. It is rich in untapped oil and gas while US reserves are running down, China is desperate for more oil, and no one outside the Gulf wants to rely on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Iraq - which have the biggest oil reserves.
According to the 2000 CIA World Factbook, Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country, highly dependent on farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats). Currently, the country is experiencing a severe drought . . . The Soviets had estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at up to 5 trillion cubic feet. Afghan gas production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s. However, due to declining reserves from producing fields, output gradually fell to about 220 Mmcf/d by 1980.
[An] option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this option is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route option is across Afghanistan, which has its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades. The territory across which the pipeline would extend is controlled by the Taliban, an Islamic movement that is not recognized as a government by most other nations. From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders and our company. In spite of this, a route through Afghanistan appears to be the best option with the fewest technical obstacles. It is the shortest route to the sea and has relatively favorable terrain for a pipeline. The route through Afghanistan is the one that would bring Central Asian oil closest to Asian markets and thus would be the cheapest in terms of transporting the oil.
Originally posted by time91
reply to post by Misoir
That was a great thread starter, lots of information. Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined in his book the grand chessboard (1997) that we needed to get control of oil in the caspian basin. It also seems that since we went there the intelligence agencies have used it as a new drug market. Selling heroin mainly to Russians and increasingly in the western world. There is a great article I'll link to in a little bit if I can find out supporting this.