Afghanistan started extracting oil from the wells of the Qashqari oil fields in the Amudarya basin in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul, the TOLOnews television network reported on Saturday, citing the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Shahabuddin Delavar said that the beginning of oil extraction from this area is a significant step for the development of the nation's economy.
Delavar announced that the development will eventually lead to the extraction of 100 tons of oil per day from the wells in the area.
Homayoun Afghan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, reported that there are currently nine operating wells in the Amudarya area with a daily extraction capacity of around 350 tons.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Industry and Mines has hailed the start of oil extraction as a positive step towards the country's self-sufficiency, while economist Abdul Nasir Reshtia called for the building of a refinery within the country to refine the oil and meet domestic demand while also allowing for exports.
The Afghan government granted the Chinese National Oil Company a contract for oil extraction and refinement in the Qashqari oil fields. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has announced that the Chinese company will invest $162 million this year and $540 million over the next three years in the crude oil extraction sector.