Gas background of the Afghan war

27
Gas background of the Afghan war

This topic is 20 years old. I first wrote about Afghan gas in the context of the war in Afghanistan back in January 2004. Subsequently, I moved far away from this issue and even forgot about it. But recently I was reminded of the strange export of gas from Afghanistan to the USSR and asked to try to figure it out again.

Over the past two decades, of course, something has been added. More information and publications have become available, some statistics, maps, and diagrams have become publicly available. However, the topic does not want to be revealed at all.



Uzbek gas to the Urals


Where to start?

From the Gazli field in Uzbekistan, discovered in 1956, then the largest in the world.

To the north-west of Bukhara, a powerful gas-bearing geological structure was discovered 38 km long and 12 km wide, with an area of ​​456 sq. km. There were six gas-bearing horizons at depths ranging from 600 to 1 meters.

At that time, gas fields had not yet been discovered in Western Siberia, and the main sources of natural gas in the USSR were Western Ukraine, the Volga region and Stavropol region.


What Soviet gas pipelines looked like before the discovery of large gas reserves in Uzbekistan. A map of the times of “gas euphoria”, the planned gas pipelines are already marked on it.

Therefore, the discovery of gas in Uzbekistan, of course, became the most important economic event.

The initial forecast natural gas resources in Uzbekistan were estimated at 3,5 trillion cubic meters, as of January 1, 1962, including for the Bukhara-Khiva region - 2,6 trillion (for Gazli - 1 trillion), and also for the Ustyurt plateau - 0,7 trillion cubic meters.

By that time, experience had already been accumulated in the use of natural gas in the energy sector, industry and municipal consumption. Gas had a sharp advantage over all other types of fuel, especially coal.

In addition, Central Asia and the Urals experienced a large shortage of fuel; their own resources in these regions were small, and they were supplied with imported Donetsk or Kuznetsk coal. The discovery of large gas deposits opened up the opportunity to solve serious energy problems.

A plan for grandiose gasification arose, the central point of which was the Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline. In the USSR in 1961 there were 21 thousand km of main gas pipelines, and in 1959–1965 40 main gas pipelines with a total length of 26 thousand km were built at once.

But the Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline at that time stood out for its scale.

Two lines, each 2 km long, with an annual capacity of 192 billion cubic meters of gas or 21 million cubic meters of gas per day. It was larger in scale than the Trans-Canada gas pipeline, the largest in the world at that time, which began in 68. It had one line with a length of 1954 km and a capacity of 3 million cubic meters per day. The Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline was three times more powerful in terms of throughput.

1 thousand tons of steel were spent on this gas pipeline. The gas pipeline was laid through almost uninhabited areas, in the desert through dunes. Crossings across large rivers were built.

In general, there were many technical problems that needed to be solved.

Gas for weapons production


Most often, the Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline was discussed without much detail, without mentioning the end points of the gas pipeline. The first line, launched in 1963, ended in Chelyabinsk, and the second line, opened in 1965, ended in Sverdlovsk.

In principle, this was not a special secret, since schemes and economic descriptions were published. In particular, it was said that Uzbek gas would free the Urals from 26 million tons of coal and free 1,3 million wagons from coal transportation in double-axle terms.

Part of the gas was supposed to be spent on supplying Uzbekistan, also in order to refuse imported fuel. For Samarkand, for example, 163,3 million cubic meters of gas were allocated per year, which replaced 226,1 thousand tons of Angren coal, 22,5 thousand tons of fuel oil and 23,7 thousand tons of kerosene.

In general, the benefits are obvious.

One would think that gas is supplied to the Urals to improve the living conditions of workers. However, no. 82,7% of gas was intended for industrial consumption, including 23,2% for energy purposes.

In industry, the gas was intended for use in steelmaking and heating furnaces. In steel smelting, gas led to an increase in steel removal by 10% compared to coal; the absence of sulfur compounds in natural gas increased the quality of steel. Gas heating furnaces increased their productivity by 10–12% compared to coal.

In addition, automatic heating control was possible, and the gas required less air supply, which led to a sharp reduction in waste - the oxidation of heated steel in the heating furnace and the transformation of part of the steel into scale. The fumes in gas furnaces were seven times less than in coal furnaces.

The primary target for gasification was the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works. Needs no introduction. The use of gas reduced coke consumption, increased the smelting of cast iron by 2,2%, and reduced the sulfur content in cast iron by 10–15%, that is, it sharply increased its quality.

In 1965, in the Chelyabinsk region, 90% of cast iron and 80% of steel were smelted using natural gas. The wagons, freed from coal transportation, began to be used to transport iron ore from the Kazakh SSR and the Kursk magnetic anomaly to Magnitka.

In general, the advantages are obvious.

Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk, steelmaking and heating furnaces... The consumer of Uzbek gas was primarily the Ural military-industrial complex. The Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline supplied fuel of higher quality and cost-effectiveness to large-scale production weapons and military equipment. That is why they tried to talk about him only in general terms.


This gas pipeline diagram clearly shows what happened.

This important circumstance gave the entire gas project very great importance.

Unexpected Problems


An important prerequisite for the fact that in this stories Afghan gas appeared, it became that geologists were seriously mistaken about gas reserves in Uzbekistan. Forecast reserves were estimated at 3,5 trillion cubic meters, according to other sources - even at 3,9 trillion cubic meters. If 21 billion cubic meters per year were supplied to the Urals, these reserves would last for more than a hundred years.

However, disputes already began regarding the Gazli field. Uzbekneftegazrazvedka estimated the field's reserves at 551 billion cubic meters, while the State Commission for Mineral Reserves on March 29, 1960 approved reserves at 439,9 billion cubic meters. According to the field development project, by 1972 it was planned to select 192 billion cubic meters or 44% of the reserves. Until 1976, it was planned to select 68,5% of the reserves.

Initially everything went quite well. Geologists discovered new gas deposits. Production grew. In 1965, 16,4 billion cubic meters were produced in Uzbekistan, in 1967 - 26,6 billion cubic meters. That year, the USSR Geological Committee re-evaluated gas reserves in Uzbekistan and determined them as 856,1 billion cubic meters. With the selection of 60% of the reserves and the extraction of about 30 billion cubic meters per year, these reserves were enough for only 20 years.

Geology also presented an unpleasant surprise. While the Gazli field had almost no hydrogen sulfide impurities, the rest turned out to be high-sulfur. For example, at Urtabulak there is up to 5% hydrogen sulfide. Such gas cannot be used directly; it had to be purified.

A peak situation arose when the core of the defense industry of the Urals found itself supplying a gas field, the reserves of which were being depleted before our eyes.

Possible options. A return to coal was not considered, because the gasification carried out excluded a return to coal without a major reconstruction of metallurgical units. Gasification was irreversible.

Large gas reserves were discovered in the Turkmen SSR. However, during a period of a kind of “gas euphoria”, it was decided that Turkmenistan would supply gas to the industry of the Center and the Volga region, also with a strong share of defense production, for which in 1967 they began to build the first line of the Central Asia – Center gas pipeline leading to Saratov, with the capacity 10,5 billion cubic meters per year.

There were plans, subsequently implemented, that this gas pipeline would be increased to a capacity of 80 billion cubic meters per year. Gas production in Turkmenistan grew, reaching 1980 billion cubic meters in 70,5, 1985 billion cubic meters in 83,2, and 1987 billion cubic meters in 88.

At that time, large deposits had already been discovered in Western Siberia: Urengoyskoye (discovered in 1966), Medvezhye (1969), Yamburgskoye (1969). Their reserves were colossal. But the development and construction of gas pipelines took time.

Construction of the Vyngapur-Chelyabinsk gas pipeline began in July 1977 and ended in December 1978. It received gas from the Urengoy field.
There was another option to start developing and processing sour gas. In 1971, the Mubarek gas processing plant was built, and in 1980, the Shurtan gas processing plant. This solved many problems, but not all.

In 1973, gas production in Uzbekistan increased to 37,1 billion cubic meters, then practically did not grow, and by 1980 it even decreased to 34,8 billion cubic meters. At the same time, about 20 billion cubic meters needed to be sent to the Urals. Uzbekistan itself already consumed 1973 billion cubic meters of gas in 11,6; in addition, Tajikistan and the southern regions of Kazakhstan needed gas.


A diagram of gas pipelines in Central Asia, giving an idea of ​​how natural gas was extracted, pumped and consumed.

Available data do not yet allow a complete balance of gas production and consumption in Central Asia to be compiled. Such a balance would answer many questions. However, it is clear that in the 1970s and 1980s the gas balance of Central Asia, with the exception of Turkmenistan, was tense and, apparently, under these conditions the idea of ​​using Afghan gas was born.

Oddities of gas imports from Afghanistan


Oil and gas reserves in northern Afghanistan, near the border with the USSR, were discovered in the 1930s, and small oil production even began in 1960. Then two gas fields were discovered in the Shibergan area, 90 km from the Uzbek Kelif on the Soviet-Afghan border.


The region of Afghanistan we are interested in on the map


Jar-Kuduk - a gas field developed by Soviet gas workers in Afghanistan

In May 1967, a protocol was concluded on gas supplies to the USSR in 1967–1985. In 1968, a gas production field with a capacity of 2,6 billion cubic meters of gas per year was created, a gas pipeline in the USSR with a capacity of 4 billion cubic meters of gas per year, as well as a gas pipeline to Mazar-i-Sharif with a capacity of 500 million cubic meters of gas per year to supply a mineral fertilizer plant.

In 1978, next to this gas pipeline, as Stanislav Kulakov, the chief geologist of the group of Soviet specialists in Afghanistan, says, the large Dzhangali-Kolon field was discovered. High flow rate, low hydrogen sulfide content in gas. Of course, this deposit attracted the attention of Soviet geologists. Afghan gas could solve a number of problems for the gas industry in Central Asia.

In 1967, Afghanistan began exporting gas to the USSR - 206,7 million cubic meters. In 1972 - 2,8 billion cubic meters. There is a wonderful reference book “Foreign Trade of the USSR”, which provided detailed information about which countries and what the USSR traded in a given year.

And here begins the oddities.

Until 1977, reference books provided accurate data on the volume of supplies and cost of gas imported from the USSR. But from 1977 to 1988, the volume data was not indicated in the directory, but only the cost of supplies was given. There is no cost for 1989 and 1990; apparently, gas was not supplied from Afghanistan.

And how do you want to understand this?

I presented summary data from the relevant reference books in the following table:


From it we see that the cost of gas supplies from Afghanistan to the USSR grew and at its peak, in 1985, amounted to 261,5 million rubles. What is this? Has the price of gas increased?

If we calculate based on a volume of 2,5 billion cubic meters per year, then with this approach the price of gas in 1980 was 5,3 kopecks per cubic meter, and in 1985 – even 10,4 kopecks per cubic meter.

This, I must say, is a monstrously large amount. In 1972, the cost of gas in Uzbekistan was 0,93 kopecks per cubic meter, and in the same 1972, the USSR paid Afghanistan, as can be calculated from the table, 0,49 kopecks per cubic meter. Has the price increased 10–20 times?
When I touched on this topic in 2004, I believed that the USSR was paying Afghanistan generously for gas, and thus it was being hidden subsidized.

However, the data on Soviet-Afghan trade given in the table shows that Afghanistan's trade balance in trade with the USSR was almost always negative, that is, the USSR traded with Afghanistan on the basis of loans, subsidizing it. This was data available to everyone who had this reference book.

Add to this direct economic assistance to Afghanistan, the supply of weapons to Afghan communists, as well as the costs of maintaining Soviet troops in Afghanistan - it is quite obvious that the USSR financed Afghanistan, and this was known to the whole world. So this idea will have to be abandoned; it is not supported by statistics.

You can go another way. If we take the price of approximately 1,2 kopecks per cubic meter (the cost of gas in the Andijan region of Uzbekistan was 1,15 kopecks per cubic meter), it turns out that the USSR sharply increased the consumption of Afghan gas. The calculated data turned out to be as follows:

1977 – 2 million cubic meters,
1978 - 2 807,
1979 - 4 519,
1980 - 10 882,
1981 - 15 631,
1982 - 16 769,
1983 - 17 915,
1984 - 20 716,
1985 - 21 096,
1986 - 16 171,
1987 - 10 828,
1988 – 6 million cubic meters.

This, I emphasize, is a calculation based on the cost of 1,2 kopecks per cubic meter. This calculation must be compared with actual data on gas imports from Afghanistan. They exist somewhere, since any gas pipeline had the appropriate meters, and besides, imports on such a scale had to be taken into account in the fuel and energy balance of the USSR and in gas consumption plans. But I don’t know where to find this data yet. It is possible that they are still under vultures.

The only interesting thing is what kind of secrets do these numbers hold? Why did we download Afghan gas?

Possible good reason for the Afghan war


But still, I think that there was an underlying reason here, with a capital P. By way of a search hypothesis, I would venture to suggest that the USSR in the 1980s really needed Afghan gas to supply the military-industrial complex and the energy sector of the Urals and Central Asia.

Uzbek gas was unsuitable due to its high sulfur content. I don’t know how well it was purified at the Mubarek gas processing plant. It is possible that the purified gas was suitable for domestic use and power plants, but was not suitable for the requirements of defense enterprises.
The gas of Western Siberia was pure in terms of hydrogen sulfide, but, apparently, there was not enough of it, since the development of production and transportation required time and expense, in addition, Western Siberian gas in large volumes went to the central regions of the USSR and for export, and politically motivated, that is, primary .

In such conditions, 15–20 billion cubic meters of Afghan gas of suitable quality truly became a very important, even strategically valuable resource.

If the struggle for oil drove armies and navies during the Second World War, then during the Cold War the struggle for natural gas could also be and, most likely, was an important part of this grandiose confrontation between the two systems.

This is far from an idle question. It brings us to the background of the Afghan war of 1979–1988, which interests many to this day. We still cannot clearly say why the USSR grabbed onto this unfortunate Afghanistan.

Help a small party of Afghan communists, whose loyalty to the ideals of Marxism-Leninism was very dubious? The USSR supported many such parties around the world. Usually this was limited to the supply of weapons and the sending of advisers. What prevented you from doing the same in this case?

Afghanistan is the only case of its kind when the USSR sent its own troops and a very large contingent to help. So there was a good reason for that. I, too, have previously put forward different versions of the explanation for this fact. But, admittedly, they were shaky.

If we assume that what was at stake was the Ural defense industry, which lacked gas, namely production that generally ensures the defense capability of the entire country, then this circumstance as a reason for sending troops to Afghanistan looks very, very significant.

If this is so, then we must admit that it was worth fighting for.

That's all for now.

From what has become available and known, it is hardly possible to squeeze out more than is said. For final clarity, we will wait until the archives open.
27 comments
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  1. -7
    5 July 2024 06: 10
    A very interesting article and assumptions about a gas shortage in the country are also very unexpected. Apparently, he was written by a professional and you can’t help but trust him.
    1. +8
      5 July 2024 06: 20
      There is no question of faith or disbelief here, but there are data refuting the author’s assumptions.
      1. -6
        5 July 2024 06: 26
        Don't know. Not an expert in this matter.
      2. -3
        5 July 2024 10: 30
        Present this data.

        Just don’t point out that this data is secret and will not be available soon.
  2. +6
    5 July 2024 06: 17
    High-quality gas could also be obtained within the country by drilling high-quality but unprofitable fields. If foreign countries sponsored it, then sponsoring our own gas was much cheaper and it was possible to stop supporting foreign countries and use the freed-up money to produce as much gas as we wanted.
  3. +11
    5 July 2024 06: 18
    It’s interesting as a version... As a version for REN-TV... Because it’s very super-conspiratorial winked
  4. +3
    5 July 2024 06: 55
    The author is a great dreamer. It is unlikely that ours would sponsor a country with an unstable economy.
  5. +8
    5 July 2024 07: 06
    unconvincing: in terms of proven gas reserves, which as of January 1, 1970 amounted to more than 12 trillion m3, Soviet Union came out on top in the world. Master it - I don’t want to.

    Why fight for gas abroad, in a country full of dangers?

    The reasons for the Afghan war have long been known and are no secret
    1. -2
      6 July 2024 14: 50
      Quote: Olgovich
      proven gas reserves, which amounted to more than 1 trillion m1970 as of January 12, 3, the Soviet Union came out on top in the world

      In conditions of poor climate and long distances, between explored and developed - years of construction of gas pipelines. Which first need to be designed, and this also takes more than one day.
      1. -1
        6 July 2024 16: 15
        Time and life have decided everything long ago.
  6. +2
    5 July 2024 08: 53
    The Afghan government asked the USSR to send troops even before the communists came to power. But then they did not consider it necessary. By the way, before the communists came to power, the governments there changed quite often. But with all the USSR, it tried to pursue a friendly policy of assistance and good neighborliness.
  7. +4
    5 July 2024 09: 26
    But still, I think that there was an underlying reason here, with a capital P. By way of a search hypothesis, I would venture to suggest that the USSR in the 1980s really needed Afghan gas to supply the military-industrial complex and the energy sector of the Urals and Central Asia.
    To the author, it is unlikely that gas was a pretext for the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan.
    In turn, the US government, from mid-1978, began systematically exploring the potential for creating social conflicts along the borders of the Soviet Union and its friendly countries in order to “tie the hands” of the USSR and prevent Afghanistan and Iran, then torn apart by the revolution, from moving into the zone of influence of the Eastern bloc. Soon, the Soviet leadership began to receive information about a sharp increase in military assistance to the Afghan mujahideen from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with the proactive role of the United States, and increasing instability in Afghanistan under the influence of other countries in the region.

    With the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in February 1979, the Americans decided to take advantage of the situation to “draw the USSR into Islamic affairs” and “provoke the Muslim peoples of the Soviet Union and other states to take action.” As the French political scientist and orientalist J. Kepel notes, “having turned jihad in Afghanistan into the main task of militant Islamism in the 1980s, the Saudi authorities defended the great American ally <...>, substituting the Soviet Union in its place.” At the same time, the United States provided diplomatic support to the anti-Soviet actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Afghanistan, which organically fit into its strategy of strengthening the “Islamic belt” - an alternative concept of “containment” developed in connection with Iran’s withdrawal from CENTO.

    On July 3, 1979, US President John Carter signed the first official directive on direct assistance to the Afghan opposition in order to push the USSR to enter Afghanistan.
    hi
  8. +12
    5 July 2024 09: 36
    I do not believe. Let's compare the facts. The Urengoy gas field was discovered in 1966. I don’t know what the gas reserves are in Afghanistan, but in Urengoy they are simply unthinkable. Enough for the country for many decades. Moreover, he often visited the oil fields of the West. Siberia at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, at that time associated gas in oil fields was burned in torches - since it was unprofitable to collect and transport it, at night it was a beautiful sight - luminous points to the very horizon, and only in the last decade they began to utilize it. As you know, troops were sent to Afghanistan in 1979 before the Moscow Olympics, at that time there was not just a lot of cheap gas, but a lot, gas pipelines were being built to Europe, and to get into a war over Afghan gas is not at all I believe there were clearly other reasons, I think political and ideological - such as the strengthening of the socialist camp :(((
    1. +8
      5 July 2024 13: 10
      I confirm - I flew over Siberia in the mid-70s - everything below was covered in giant torches.
      They didn’t count a damn thing in the Union... And anyone who said that they wanted to build socialism was given food/AK as a gift... And I was near Moscow in the Volokolamsk region in the 80s - there in the villages there was diesel light on a schedule, if the mechanic is not on a drinking binge..
    2. +4
      5 July 2024 14: 18
      You see what the problem is (I’m not an oil worker, but an energy engineer) - you also need to know the volumes possible for production at the technological level of the 60s... gas pipelines to Europe, by the way, were also built not because of a good life, but because of the need for currency. As far as I know from friends from the north - for example, the deposits around Nizhnevartovsk, which we can now develop, will run out in 10, maximum 15 years...
      PS: if gas played a role in the Afghan war, it was not the most important one... let's be honest - Afghanistan is not the first country where the USSR sent troops to stabilize the existing government
      1. +1
        5 July 2024 18: 11
        At that time, these technologies were not as exciting as they are now, since there was a real alternative in the form of the atom.
        Uranium production increased from 8 to 60 tons from 1970 to 1980.
    3. +1
      5 July 2024 15: 01
      Quote from Andy_nsk
      I do not believe. Let's compare the facts. The Urengoy gas field was discovered in 1966. I don’t know what the gas reserves are in Afghanistan, but in Urengoy they are simply unthinkable. Enough for the country for many decades.

      The article about this says:
      At that time, large deposits had already been discovered in Western Siberia: Urengoyskoye (discovered in 1966), Medvezhye (1969), Yamburgskoye (1969). Their reserves were colossal. But the development and construction of gas pipelines took time.
      Construction of the Vyngapur-Chelyabinsk gas pipeline began in July 1977 and ended in December 1978. It received gas from the Urengoy field.

      The gas of Western Siberia was pure in terms of hydrogen sulfide, but apparently there was not enough of it, since the development of production and transportation required time and expense, and besides West Siberian gas in large volumes went to the central regions of the USSR and for export, and politically motivated, that is, paramount.
      1. +1
        7 July 2024 15: 35
        The fact that there was allegedly not enough gas was not proven in any way in the publication. There was enough gas in Siberia.
  9. -4
    5 July 2024 09: 50
    Stupid anti-Soviet propaganda.
  10. +10
    5 July 2024 11: 54
    If we assume that what was at stake was the Ural defense industry, which lacked gas, namely production that generally ensures the defense capability of the entire country, then this circumstance as a reason for sending troops to Afghanistan looks very, very significant.

    Again Verkhoturov is trying to take away bread from “Speed-Info”, literally sucking all sorts of “secrets of the 20th century” out of his finger.
    Let's do a simple calculation. The integrated (taking into account previous conversions) specific consumption of natural gas per 1 ton of steel at enterprises with a full metallurgical cycle and the presence of open-hearth furnaces was about 10 cubic meters. That is, if all 000 billion cubic meters of Afghan gas are used for steel production, then it will be enough for 20 million tons of this very steel.
    In 1979, the RSFSR produced 85 million tons of steel, with the bulk of this steel produced in the Urals. That is, Afghanistan's 20 million cubic meters of gas could provide as much as 2,3% of annual steel production. These two percent could be compensated for without any problems by production in other regions, and no one in their right mind would send troops to Afghanistan for this purpose.
    And one more number. In 1980, the total volume of Soviet gas exports to Europe amounted to 54,8 billion cubic meters. What kind of “at stake” can we talk about with such exports?
    Yes, by the way, all the figures are taken from the public press.
  11. +4
    5 July 2024 13: 28
    I have doubts about the volumes. 20 billion cubic meters per year is a lot and such volumes can only be transported through large-diameter main pipelines. In the USSR there was a problem with such pipes; they built from Siberia to Europe using German pipes in exchange for future gas. So there is no way around this moment. Most likely, supplies were carried out through medium-section gas pipelines, which is 2-3 billion cubic meters per year. Because of such volumes they don’t go to war. Of course, the invasion of Afghanistan was a strategic mistake by the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, and there were several reasons, but gas was definitely not the first. I don’t claim to be the truth, I’m just speaking out as I see it.
  12. +1
    5 July 2024 14: 35
    Afghanistan is the only case of its kind when the USSR sent its own troops and a very large contingent to help.

    Not the only one. The main condition for sending your own troops is a common border.
    Nothing strange .
  13. +3
    5 July 2024 21: 30
    Dear author! Why don’t you consider the history of the discovery of the North and South Mubarek gas fields in the UzSSR, the construction of the Mubarek gas processing plant, which was put into operation on December 31.12.1971, 30, the village attached to it, which grew into a city with 000 people, and the Mubarek-Navoi gas pipeline? The city of Navoi began to be built in the late 50s of the 20th century as a center for the extraction of rare metals, silver, gold, and uranium. Navoiazot has been making nitrogen fertilizers from gas from the Mubarek fields for many years. And they also work in Navoi today: the joint-stock company "Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine", the state enterprise "Navoiyuran", they make cement in Navoi at the largest plant in Uzbekistan "Kyzylkumcement".
    And always, before gas is sent through a gas pipeline, it is cleaned of sand, water and sulfur...
    Vostokgiprogaz (later the All-Union Research and Design Institute for the Development of Gas Field Equipment VNIPIgazdobycha, today OJSC VNIPIgazdobycha) worked on projects for the Mubarek and Shurtan group of gas fields with a high content of hydrogen sulfide and carbohydrate dioxide.
    In 1964!!! A contract was signed with the government of the Republic of Afghanistan for the development of two projects - the development of the Shibergan group of gas fields and the creation of the Shibergan - Mazar-i-Sharif, Shibergan - USSR gas pipelines. The institute's specialists completed development projects for the Khoja-Gugertak and Jar-Kuduk fields. In the 80s, additional wells at the Shurtanskoye field were put into operation, the Shurtan - Syr Darya gas pipeline was built, and the design of the Shurtan gas chemical complex for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene was started by the same institute.
    In the USSR, communist communists tried to develop all the republics. By the end of the 80s, the USSR had completed work on the water and energy program for Central Asia; gas from Afghanistan did not play any role there.
    Yes, regarding errors in gas reserve estimates in Soviet Central Asia. Don't forget that the area is earthquake-prone. The 1966 Tashkent earthquake is remembered, but the aftershocks are not. About Gazli (Uz. SSR): in April and May 1976, in March 1984; Many people had not heard about Kairakkum in 1985, when Leninabad, Chkalovsk, Gafurov (Tajik SSR) suffered.
  14. +2
    5 July 2024 23: 15
    Until 1977, reference books provided accurate data on the volume of supplies and cost of gas imported from the USSR.

    Gas was imported to Afghanistan from the USSR. Or, in other words, the USSR exported gas to Afghanistan. And the corresponding table is given, with export figures. How the author managed to draw the conclusion from this that the USSR needed Afghan gas - for the life of me, I don’t understand.
  15. +1
    6 July 2024 08: 33
    Gas as a cause of war is unlikely, but as an additional argument for hawks, yes.
  16. 0
    6 July 2024 15: 39
    From my article:
    Why was Afghanistan so important for the Soviet Union?
    According to the former head of Directorate “S” of the KGB of the USSR, Yu.I. Drozdov, during the period of the “atomic boom” the Soviet Union conducted thorough exploration in the Pamirs. The results of this exploration, which became known in the West, especially concerning promising deposits of uranium ore, have long haunted monopolists in many countries. And in today's Russia there is only one single uranium deposit and there are no other alternatives.
    And the conversation then, in 1978–1979, was about the need to protect the southern borders of our country, about preserving promising energy sources and other riches of the Pamirs in the hands of the Soviet people.
    American intelligence officers, who trained agents from among the Afghans, argued that Afghanistan would not be given up to the Russians so easily, that they would create an international armed coalition of resistance to the new democratic regime and would do their best to weaken Soviet influence in the country, up to the deployment of the Basmachi movement in Soviet Central Asia. For what purpose? A foothold in Afghanistan would bring the United States closer to the unique treasure trove of the world—Tajikistan [3].
    As arguments for the need to send Soviet troops into Afghanistan, Yu. Andropov and D. Ustinov cited: efforts undertaken by the US CIA to create a “New Great Ottoman Empire” with the inclusion of the southern republics of the USSR; the absence of a reliable air defense system in the south, which, if American Pershing missiles are deployed in Afghanistan, threatens many vital facilities, including the Baikonur Cosmodrome; the possibility of Pakistan and Iraq using Afghan uranium deposits to create nuclear weapons; establishing opposition rule in the northern regions of Afghanistan and annexing this region to Pakistan, etc.” [3].
  17. 0
    6 July 2024 19: 35
    As a search hypothesis, I would venture to suggest that the USSR in the 1980s was in great need of Afghan gas to supply the military-industrial complex and energy sector of the Urals and Central Asia.
    This is all very blaarod (Don Sera). but why didn’t the author write anything about the discovery of the Orenburg gas condensate field in 1969? Yes, the gas had a huge amount of impurities, it was necessary to build an entire chemical complex where many useful things were extracted from the impurities, but already in the mid-70s the Orenburg-Western border of the USSR gas pipeline began operating.