Paydirt for April 16, 2018: Their aim is true: Tapping into energy prosperity in Albania

Government officials and Albpetrol employees commemorate the 100th anniversary of Albania's oil industry on April 11 at Drashovica.

Government officials and Albpetrol employees commemorate the 100th anniversary of Albania's oil industry on April 11 at Drashovica.

London-based Harris ‘keen’ to see PNN replicate Bankers’ success in Balkan republic

Jon Harris knows the London investment crowd.

Pennine Petroleum Corporation’s leadership knows the eastern European oil and gas regulatory climate.

Together, they aim to create energy prosperity in Albania.

London-based Harris, named April 9 to Pennine’s (TSX-V: PNN) board as a Non-Executive Director, has served identical roles for multiple AIM- and TSX-listed companies during his 30-year international management career.

He’s also led two AIM listings on the London Stock Exchange for clients in the past decade.

“The London theatre is currently interested in energy investments in eastern Europe, including the Balkans, and North Africa,” notes N. Desmond Smith, Pennine’s Chief Executive Officer.

“And Jon has a proven knack of shepherding projects from concept through to launch, thanks to his expertise in project management, process engineering and business analysis.”

Pennine’s current leadership has a wealth of industry experience—geological and geophysical exploration, reservoir and extraction engineering, production, refining—in the former Soviet-bloc countries of eastern Europe.

The arrival of Mr. Harris, and his London network, adds considerably to that advantage. Pennine finalized a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) for Albania’s Velca Block in November 2017 as part of a joint venture with Albpetrol Sh.A, Albania’s national oil company.

“Many eastern European countries are either already members of the European Union, or aspire to join the EU,” says Mr. Harris. “This gives investors—and operators—greater transparency when negotiating agreements, and therefore feel less vulnerable to politically driven changes to terms of licenses.”

One of Mr. Harris’s previous Non-Executive Directorships was with Calgary-based Bankers Petroleum Ltd. (TSX/AIM: BNK), which accounted for nearly 6 percent of Albania’s Gross Domestic Product in 2014.

Bankers pioneered production of Albania’s vast Patos-Marinza heavy oil fields, the largest onshore oil fields in Europe.

“Having been involved with Bankers Petroleum in Albania (as a Non-Executive Director from 2004 through 2016), I’m keen to see whether their success can be replicated by Pennine,” says Mr. Harris, who also chaired Bankers’ corporate governance committee and served on its audit and compensation committees.

“Much of Bankers’ success came through applying modern technology—horizontal drilling, for example—to maximize recovery from known deposits,” he adds.

“This potential is applicable throughout eastern Europe in both oil and mineral deposits, which to a large extent have not attracted the capital required to fully exploit them.”