Rama Claims Albania ‘Might’ Soon Discover Important Oil Field

An oil well in the Kucova oil field of Albania. Photo: Nensi Bogdani/BIRN

"There are signs that show that we might be near a very very important discovery of oil and gas that will have a large impact not only on the future of our country but will play a role even in the future of energy in Europe," Rama said.

Rama is currently visiting the Netherlands where he met Prime Minister Mark Rutte as he attempts to win over EU heads of states for assigning a date for Albania's first EU membership talks.

Belinda Balluku, the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, confirmed that Albania "will be able to produce important quantities of oil and gas.

"Shell is now working in Albania since some time, and we are impatiently waiting for the results of the exploration, which will be a large discovery," Balluku said. "It will be 40 per cent gas and 60 per cent oil," she added.

Both Balluku and Rama acknowledged that Shell "has not provided" data or details on what may be expected. However, both seemed convinced it would be positive news.

They were referring to the Shpirag oilfield situated in southern Albania around the limestone mountain of Shpirag. The field was first explored in 2001 by Occidental Petroleum, which decided not to try to develop it for exploitation.

Since then, however, Shell and other investors have spent tens of millions of euros on drilling four test wells which runs to more than 6,000 meters deep with the hope of results.

Manas Petroleum, another company, drilled a test well known as Shpirag 2 back in 2012, followed by Shell, which took over in 2016 with test wells Shpirag 3 and 4.

In its last press release on the issue in 2019, Shell confirmed the potential discovery of oil there, but added that it had...

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