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Big Afghan Oil, Gas Reserves Identified --> Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world (epa) March 15, 2006 -- U.S. and Afghan scientists say they have found significant reserves of oil and gas in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Industry say two geological basins in northern Afghanistan are believed to hold 18 times more oil and three times more natural gas than previously thought.

They say nearly 1.6 billion barrels of oil, mostly in the Afghan-Tajik Basin, and about 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mainly in the Amu Darya Basin, could be tapped, potentially providing revenues for the Afghan government.

Officials said the U.S. Trade and Development Agency paid the $2 million cost of the assessment, which was carried out over nearly four years.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is quoted as saying the estimates of the oil and gas reserves are "very positive findings."


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