In 2006, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan requested assistance from Norway for the development of a national petroleum regulatory authority. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this end was signed in October 2007.

The assistance programme had two main pillars: development of a legal framework and provision of consultancy for a tendering process, and organizational capacity building. The two pillars were executed in parallel, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Mines. The worsening security situation, the 2009 election and subsequent political challenges affected the progress and the performance of the activities to a considerable degree. Both projects were completed in spring 2010, their most important objectives having been achieved.

As a separate activity, OfD provided and funded two energy consultants to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), from mid 2009 to mid 2010. Also this project was severely constrained by the deteriorating security situation.

In July 2010, the Afghan Minister of Mines submitted a request to the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul for further assistance within the energy sector. Several clarification meetings with the Ministry have been held, and the request is currently under review. A new programme is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2011.

Photo: Ken Opprann


The first international tender round for three Sheberghan oil and gas blocks was concluded with a single bid received for one of the blocks. The bid was rejected in March 2010 by the Contracts Evaluation Team. This concluded the main part of the OfD programme. The capacity building programme was completed with a language training programme for Ministry of Mines (MoM) staff in May 2010.

As basis for possible further activities in Afghanistan and to improve the contextual understanding of on-going activities OfD commissioned a study from the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway: “Afghan Hydrocarbons: A Source for Development or for Conflict?” The risk assessment study report was issued in June 2010.

The energy consultants seconded to UNAMA finished their assignment in June. Following the change in top leadership and the worsening security situation, UNAMA decided to reduce its in-country expatriate staff.



All remaining tail-end programme activities were completed. The commissioned report “Afghan Hydrocarbons: A Source for Development or for Conflict?” was published.