July 2, 2012 / 4:14 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Exxon considers oil/gas exploration in Afghanistan

By Anna Driver
    HOUSTON, July 2 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is
contemplating participation in an oil and gas tender of six
blocks in northern Afghanistan, a company spokesman said on
Monday.
    Access to the world's oil reserves for companies like Exxon
has gotten tougher in recent years as governments assert tighter
control of their resources. Opportunity exists, however, in
countries like Afghanistan or Iraq where foreign oil companies'
budgets and expertise are needed. 
    "Esso Exploration International Ltd's expression of interest
in the Afghan-Tajik Basin tender is part of our ongoing
evaluation of oil and gas resources around the world," Alan
Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon, said.
    Afghanistan is seeking bidders for the exploration,
development and production of oil and gas in six blocks in the
western portion of the Afghan-Tajik Basin of northern
Afghanistan, according to its Web site.
    Bids are due in late October and winning bidders will be
announced in late 2012, the government said.
    Afghanistan signed a deal late last year with China National
Petroleum Corp (CNPC) for the development of oil blocks in the
Amu Darya basin in the north, a project expected to earn
billions of dollars over two decades for the wartorn state.  
   That agreement was the first international oil production
agreement reached by the Afghan government for several decades.
    Shares of Exxon fell 68 cents to $84.88 in midday New York
Stock Exchange trading. The energy sector was broadly lower on a
$2 per barrel decline in crude oil prices.

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