CEO sees an ‘abundance of opportunity’ in southeast Europe
For nearly two years, Pennine Petroleum Corporation has had an exploratory foot on two continents.
And with the company’s next annual general meeting coming up on Monday, Oct. 23 in Calgary, Pennine is firmly Balkans-bound.
Citing an “abundance of opportunity” in the region, Chief Executive Officer N. Desmond Smith says PNN has made the strategic decision to concentrate on Albania and other southeastern European nations for both exploration options and joint venture possibilities on producing wells—while limiting and divesting itself of its Canadian footprint.
Pennine already has a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) in place for Albania’s Velca Block, and is waiting on the country’s new majority government to sign an edict that will allow PNN to begin reviewing geological and geophysical data for its first Velca Block well.
“We see multiple opportunities in Albania and the southeast Europe region, which trade on the premium to WTI, Brent crude pricing,” says Mr. Smith. “Since our last AGM, we’ve reviewed some possible domestic acquisitions, but tax and regulatory uncertainty make this avenue exceedingly difficult.
“Our directors, who collectively own in excess of 22% of the outstanding shares of Pennine, are in total agreement on this direction. We look forward to focusing our efforts on Albania and the Balkans; at this point we’re simply waiting on the Albanian government’s approval to move forward.”
That said, Pennine’s Albanian activities have been moving forward on other fronts:
- Pennine chairman Richard Wadsworth met with PNN’s lawyers and corporate consultants in Tirana on Sept. 30 to discuss the Velca Block, as well as other opportunities in Albania;
- Mr. Smith has received all documentation related to official registration, and announcement of the official opening, of Pennine’s legal entity branch office in Tirana;
- The company is still on track to select an initial Velca Block drilling target in early 2018.
Mr. Smith also recently visited Dallas, home of new advisory board member and former E*TRADE executive Connie Kuhl, to discuss U.S.-based marketing efforts for Pennine.
“We signed a CAD$2-million trading facility with Ionian Refining and Trading Company in May, in preparation for an eventuality like this,” says Mr. Smith. “IRTC believes that our relationship will help them ultimately position themselves as the highest-margin refiner in southeastern Europe. They’re entirely on board with this direction that we’re taking.”