Paydirt for Jan. 17, 2018: Velca Block PSA committee takes collaborative approach in quest for prosperity

Pennine CEO N. Desmond Smith (L) and Velca Block advisory committee chairman Kastriot Bejtaj.

Pennine CEO N. Desmond Smith (L) and Velca Block advisory committee chairman Kastriot Bejtaj.

Concession a ‘low-geological-risk asset at the optimal depth,’ says chairman Kastriot Bejtaj

The meeting was to review budget, but N. Desmond Smith believes some important collaborative capital is also in play.

On Friday, Jan. 12 in Tirana, three representatives of Pennine Petroleum Corporation (TSX-V: PNN) and three more from Albpetrol Sh. A, the national oil company of Albania, met to present and discuss the 2018 budget for the Velca Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA).

This six-person Velca Block PSA advisory committee is tasked with advancing this joint venture, after the newly formed Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania gave final approval to the PSA in November 2017.

Mr. Smith, one of Pennine’s people at the table on Friday, says the group covered considerable ground.

“We’re extremely pleased with the continued collaborative approach,” says Mr. Smith. “We know that Albpetrol is eagerly anticipating success on this, their favoured concession . . . and Friday’s meeting was very cordial and progressive in terms of advancing this project to the selection of the drill location target.”

The chairman of this Velca Block PSA advisory committee is Kastriot Bejtaj, who needs no introduction in the Albanian oil and gas industry. Mr. Bejtaj has held a number of energy-related posts in the southeast European republic, including:

  • Albanian general manager for Petromanas Energy Inc., which sold its Albanian upstream assets to Royal Dutch Shell in February 2016;
  • Head of the hydrocarbon department with Albania’s National Agency of Natural Resources (AKBN);
  • General director (from 1999 to 2003) of the former Albanian Petroleum Corporation, which oversaw oil extraction, production and refining in that country; and
  • Operational geophysicist with Albanian Shell exploration and production from 1995 to 1997.

“The Velca Block is considered by Albpetrol experts as a low-geological-risk asset at the optimal depth,” says Mr. Bejtaj. “Advancing agreements like the Velca Block PSA is essential to capitalizing on our natural resources—and turning potential into prosperity.”