The Afghan government has signed a deal with a Chinese company for the development of oil deposits, a project expected to earn Kabul billions of dollars over two decades.

The deal with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) -- covering drilling and a refinery in the northern provinces of Sar-e Pul and Faryab -- is Kabul's first international oil-production agreement in several decades.

Afghan Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani told a news conference that CNPC would bring their experts and equipment to the site in a month's time, with the practical work to begin in October 2012.

He said the contract was valid for 25 years. "We estimate that within 23 years, the revenue for Afghanistan will be $7 billion," he added.

It's the second major deal for China in Afghanistan after Metallurgical Corp of China signed a contract in 2008 to develop the huge Aynak copper mine south of Kabul, which is due to start producing by the end of 2014.

compiled from agency reports


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