Paydirt for Sept. 13, 2017: Pennine warms to Albania's open-for-business approach

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Minister of Energy and Infrastructure ‘ideally suited’ for economic growth mandate

Economic growth is the name of the game for Albania’s newly appointed majority government.

One day after President Edi Rama was formally appointed and Speaker Gramoz Ruci was elected by Albania’s parliament, the southeast European nation’s Cabinet was sworn in Sept. 10—with Damian Gjiknuri retaining his role as Minister of Energy and Industry, while adding infrastructure to his portfolio.

Topping the list of priorities for Albania’s governing Socialist Party is economic growth. Rama told Albania’s parliament that his government aims to create 220,000 new jobs in the country over the next four years—spurred by investments in infrastructure, schools and health care—while also boosting salaries and pensions, without increasing public debt.

Pennine Petroleum Corporation (TSX-V: PNN) expects to have drilling targets for the Velca Block production sharing agreement (PSA) selected immediately following analysis of existing data. Pennine is also actively seeking and evaluating additional oil and gas production opportunities in the Balkan nation, bolstered by the May announcement of a CAD$2-million credit facility with Ionian Refining and Trading Company.

Rama told the 22nd World Petroleum Congress at Istanbul in July that Albania—with incentives, strong motivation and vast resources—expects to begin attracting unprecedented foreign oil investment dollars from around the globe.

“Pennine already has an excellent rapport with Minister Gjiknuri,” notes Pennine CEO and Director N. Desmond Smith. “We also believe that the Minister is ideally suited to follow through on Mr. Rama’s address in Istanbul that Albania is open for business.”

In February, Pennine finalized its PSA with Albpetrol Sh.A, Albania’s national oil company, for exploration and development of the Velca Block in southern Albania. The Velca Block encompasses 308 square kilometers of petroleum and natural gas rights, with defined structures visible from older geophysical data.

An independent engineering report from April 2017 identified a high case recoverable resource estimate of 35.5 million barrels of oil.