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Survey finds oil in Afghanistan

A preliminary survey has found that Afghanistan may have 1.8 billion barrels of oil in the north of the country, an official said.

The survey by Afghan and international geologists found the possible oil field between Balkh and Jawzjan provinces, Mines Ministry spokesman Jawad Omar said.

He said the survey would be reviewed and a statement about the possible field is expected by the end of the year or early in 2011. He gave no further details.

Last June, Afghan officials said U.S. geologists believe the country has nearly $1 trillion in mineral resources, although it could take decades and peace with the Taliban and other insurgents before it can be fully exploited.

Oil was first discovered in Afghanistan in 1959 in the country's part of the Amu Darya and Afghan-Tajik basins of the north.

A 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that Afghanistan has about one billion barrels of recoverable oil, although the U.S. Geological Survey the same year put the figure at nearly 2 billion barrels.

By comparison, Saudi Arabia has about 264 billion barrels of crude reserves and currently produces about 8 million barrels per day out of its overall output capacity of around 12 million barrels per day.

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