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Bhutan (the Kingdom of Bhutan) is a land-locked country at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It borders China (north) and India to the south (West Bengal and Assam), east (Arunachal Pradesh) and west (Sikkim).

Evidence for inhabitants in Bhutan date from over 3000 years ago. After 600 AD Buddhism was introduced and numerous religious sects vied with each other under Mongol and Tibetan leaders. However, early history is unclear because records were lost when fire destroyed the ancient capital of Punakha in 1827.

Early in the 1600s the country was unified by a Tibetan lama who built a network of dzongs (fortresses) and established a Bhutanese identity. Bhutan defended itself from the Mughal Empire in the 18th century and repeatedly attacked British India until a final peace treaty was signed in 1865.

Civil war between the valleys of Paro and Tongsa then led to victory for Ugyen Wangchuck of Tongsa. In 1907 he became king who, in 1910, signed the Treaty of Punakha giving the UK control of foreign affairs, continued by India after independence in 1947.

The economy depends on agriculture and the sale of hydroelectricity to India (since 2007). It has also seen recent growth in its technology sector. Now beginning to modernise, it only allowed television in the country in 1999.

Land-locked Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas and consists mostly of high mountains, forested slopes, and a network of steep rivers in deep valleys. Elevation rises from 200m in the southern foothills to more than 7,000m with the highest point being Gangkhar Puensum at 7,570m.

Like Nepal the country has no identified indigenous oil or gas resources owing to its location within the Himalayas where sediments are uplifted and highly deformed with limited young sedimentary cover.

Globalshift believes that Bhutan is unlikely to achieve any production in the future and no wells have been drilled within its borders.


Map and National Flag


Playing the clarinet

South Asia


E and P

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Brief history of the country

Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. The King is head of state who delegated absolute powers to parliament in 2008 when the first election was held.

The bicameral parliament consists of a 25-member National Council, led by the Prime minister and a 47-member National Assembly.  

The Department of Geology and Mines was established in 1981 to oversee exploration but no department is specifically responsible for oil and gas resources.

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