Timeline of Competition between Unocal and Bridas for the Afghanistan Pipeline

The Principal Players: Unocal | Bridas (Bridas has since merged with BP Amoco Argentina)

1992
January Gas exploration rights for Yashlar block in eastern Turkmenistan awarded to Argentine firm; Bridas Production profits to be split 50-50 between Bridas and Turkmenistan government.
1993
February Bridas awarded Keimir Oil and Gas Block in western Turkmenistan. 75-25 split in profits, in favor of Bridas.
March President Niyazov of Turkmenistan hires Alexander Haig (former U.S. National Security Adviser) to lobby for increased U.S. investment in Turkmenistan. and for a softening of position on pipelines through Iran.
1994
September Bridas prevented from exporting oil from Keimir Block.
November Working group established to study gas pipeline routes. Taliban capture Kandahar.
1995
January Keimir Block deal is renegotiated. Bridas's share of profits reduced to 65 percent. Oil exports allowed.
March Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Turkmen president Niyazov conduct feasibility study of Afghan pipeline.
April Turkmenistan and Iran to build first 180 miles of proposed pipeline via Iran to Turkey. United States oppose financing pipeline through Iran. Turkmen officials in Texas at invitation of Bridas. While there, they also meet meet Unocal officials.
August Oil and gas discovered by Bridas at Yashlar. Bridas representatives meet Taliban for first time.
October President Niyazov signs agreement in New York with Unocal/Delta.
December Ban on Bridas's oil exports from Keimir imposed by Turkmenistan for second time.
1996
February Agreement between Afghan government and Bridas signed. Suit filed by Bridas in Texas against Unocal/Delta for interference in its business in Turkmenistan.
March U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Tom Simmons, urges Bhutto to give exclusive rights to Unocal. Bhutto offended and demands apology.
May Turkmenisatn, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan agree that Turkmenistan should name the consortium to build the pipeline. Opening of 100-mile railway route linking Turkmenistan and Iran.
August Unocal/Delta and Turkmenistan's Turkmenrosgaz along with Russia's Gazprom enter into agreement for pipeline project.
Septmeber Unocal says it will give aid to to Afghan warlords once they agree to form a council to supervise the project. Taliban take Kabul.
October Unocal expresses suport for Taliban takover, saying it makes pipeline project easier. Unocal later says it was misquoted.
November Bridas signs agreement with Taliban and Gen. Dostum to build pipeline.
December Turkey to buy Turkmen gas through Iran.
1997
January Turkmenistan signs exploration agreement with Mobil and Monument Oil. U.N. Under Secretary General Akashi criticizes oil companies and warlords for pipeline projects.
February Taliban in Washington to seek recognition. Taliban meet with Unocal. Taliban travel to Argentina as guests of Bridas. Upon return, Taliban meet with Saudi Intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faysal, in Jeddah.
March Unocal sets up office in Kandahar; Bridas does likewise in Kabul.
April Taliban announce criteria for awarding contract: The company that starts work first wins.
Unocal President John Imle baffled by statement.
June Unocal says peace is necessary for construction of pipeline, otherwise the project could take years. Bridas officials meet Taliban and say that they are "interested in beginning work in any kind of security situation."
July Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Unocal sign new contract extending Unocal's deadline by one year to start project by December 1998. In a policy shift, United Staes says it will not object to Turkmenisatn-Turkey pipeline through Iran.
August Shell's Alan Parsley meets Niyazov and promises help on Turkmenistan-Turkey pipeline. Taliban say Bridas offer better terms and expect to enter into agreement with them.
September Turkmenistan opens tenders for oil companies to take up new concessions along the Caspian. Niyazov, 57, has heart operation in Munich—concern grows about his health, and who would replace him should he die. Bridas sells 60 percent of the company's stakes in Latin America to Amoco. The two agree to form a new company to run operations jointly. Taliban delegation in Argentina to discuss pipeline deal with Bridas.
October Taliban delegation visits Ashkhbad and agrees to set up tripartite commission with Pakistan and Turkmenistan to explore Unocal pipeline project. Centgas Pipeline Ltd. formed in Ashkhabad: Unocal owns 46.5 percent, Delta Oil owns 15 percent, Turkmenistan's national gas company owns 7 percent, Itochu Oil owns 6.5 percent, Inpex owns 6.5 percent, Crescent Group owns 3.5 percent, Hyundai Engineering owns 5 percent. Taliban undecided which consortium to join.
November Taliban in United States to visit Unocal and U.S. State Department officials.
December Turkmenistan and Iran inaugarate 120-mile-long gas pipeline between the two countries.
1998
January Bridas awarded US$50 million by International Court of Arbitration in Paris for money owed by Turkmen government for refined products provided to Keimir refinery.
February Gazprom pulls out of Unocal consortium, shares re-distributed, giving Unocal 54 percent.
March Unocal says pipeline on hold as unfeasible because of Afghan war. Turkmenistan anxious for work to begin soon. Unocal asks Pakistan to extend deadline to October 1998. Deadline cannot be met, says Unocal, because of Afghan civil war.
June Objections to Afghan pipeline deal by some shareholders at Unocal's annual meeting. Unocal says it has spent US$10-15 million on the project since 1995 and intends to give US$1 million to Afghan charities in 1998.
August After U.S. missile strikes against Afghanistan, Unocal suspends pipeline project and asks American staff to leave.
September Environmentalists in California ask Attorney General to dissolve Unocal for crimes against humanity, the environment, and for its relationship with the Taliban.
October A Texas judge dismisses Bridas's US$15 billion suit against Unocal for preventing them developing gas fields in Turkmenistan. Judge says dispute covered by Turkmen and Afghan law, not Texas law.
November Unocal withdraws from a US$2.9 billion pipeline project to bring natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey.
December Citing low oil prices, concerns over Osama bin Laden, and pressure from women's groups, Unocal withdraws from Afghan pipeline consortium. Unocal also announces a 40 percent drop in capital spending for 1999 because of low oil prices.
1999
January Turkmenistan's foreign minister visits Pakistan; says pipeline project still alive.
February Carlos Bulgheroni, co-chairman of Bridas, visits Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia for talks with leaders.
March Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Sheikh Muradov meets with Mullah Omar in Kandahar to discuss pipeline.
April Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Taliban sign agreement to revive pipeline project.
May Taliban delegation signs agreements with Turkmenistan to buy gas and electricity.

This timeline owes a heavy debt to Ahmed Rashid's excellent study, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale UP, 2000). Wherever possible, the information has been cross-checked against Unocal and BP Amoco Argentina's archives of press releases, Pratt's Oil Digest, Oil and Gas Magazine, Pravda, Moscow's Interfax News Agency, the ITAR-TASS news agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and