Paydirt for July 25, 2017: ‘A new oil frontier’: PM Rama touts Albania’s energy advantage

With incentives, motivation and vast resources, this is ‘the best moment to invest in the Albanian petroleum and gas industry’

Means? Check.

Motive? Yes.

Opportunity? Without a doubt.

In a bold presentation to the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said his Balkan nation is ready, willing and able to begin attracting unprecedented foreign oil investment dollars from around the world.

“Can Albania become a new frontier of the oil industry? I truly believe that we have every opportunity to do so, a clear strategy, and—what’s more important—plenty of oil and gas reserves.

“I believe,” he added, “this is probably the best moment to invest in the Albanian petroleum and gas industry.”

Pennine Petroleum Corporation (TSX-V: PNN) is focused on creating prosperity in Albania through oil and gas production and development.

In addition to its Velca Block concession in southern Albania, Pennine recently signed a CAD$2-million credit facility with Ionian Refining and Trading Company (IRTC), and is actively seeking joint venture opportunities for producing wells in the Balkan country.

Albania, pointed out Rama at the World Petroleum Congress, lies at the crossroads between East and West “like a true bridge.” The country of three million also lies along the corridor of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, expected to begin operation in 2019, and is the home of Patos-Marinza, one of the largest onshore operating oilfields in Europe.

“Our country has large unexploited resources that can make us potentially a new oil frontier miles away from the heat of the Middle East,” he said. “Our government now has a clear strategy which offers legal protection and fiscal incentives for any investments made in this sector.”

Fresh from a majority victory for his Socialist Party in national elections in late June, Rama said in Istanbul that Albania’s wider petroleum strategy includes:

  • Diversification of energy resources;
  • Increasing in crude oil production;
  • Auctions of free oil and gas blocks, based on transparent competitive procedures;
  • Increasing refining capacity, with most of Albania’s crude currently exported elsewhere;
  • Increasing storage capacity;
  • Restructuring the retail gas station network; and
  • Integrating the sector’s legal framework to align with European Union protocols.

“Governmental cooperation with private-sector companies interested in conducting business . . . is very important to ensure a stable and steady growth of the oil sector,” said Rama. “Our government considers the energy sector a strategic one, and the main focus is to increase the security of energy supply for Albanian consumers.”

Read the full transcript of Rama’s World Petroleum Congress speech here.