Inspenet, August 24, 2023.
Last Tuesday, the Albanian government reported the discovery of a significant hydrocarbon deposit in the southern region of the country, which was made by the multinational energy company Shell. This could contain a large reserve of gas and oil .
The hydrocarbon deposit is located in Shpirag
“The important discovery of oil today in Shpirag at a depth of 6.1 km holds the great promise of the extraction of considerable wealth for Albania and the Albanians,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on his Facebook account.
For a decade, Shell has been conducting research in the Shpirag region, close to the resort town of Berat.
The Prime Minister also noted that it will be necessary to wait until the end of the year to gain a more detailed understanding of this reserve and the viability of hydrocarbon extraction .
Additionally, the government leader mentioned that work is being done on the creation of a sovereign fund to manage oil-derived resources in case the discovery is confirmed. This approach follows the example of nations such as Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Azerbaijan.
In the last ten years, it is estimated that Albania has been extracting one million tons of oil annually , in contrast to the 2.5 million tons extracted during the 1970s during the period of the communist dictatorship.
Approximately 90% of the oil is extracted by the Chinese company Bankers Petroleum Albania, which operates the country’s main oil deposit, located in Patos-Marinza; while the rest comes from multiple smaller companies, including the state company Albpetrol.
Likewise, much of the oil extracted in Albania is exported and due to the closure of the country’s main refinery in 2019, it is necessary to import both crude oil and its derivative products.
Power production in Albania is 98% dependent on hydroelectric power plants built during communist times, and the country lacks international gas pipeline connections .
After the transition to democracy three decades ago, the energy sector underwent privatization processes, which in many cases were considered abusive and which are believed to have harmed what had been one of the most developed sectors during the dictatorship period. .