Energy Western Balkans

Albania may be sitting on huge oil, gas reserves, PM reveals

| 2022-07-06 < 1 min read

Albania may be sitting on huge oil, gas reserves, PM reveals

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Albania may be about to announce the findings of exploratory fossil fuel drillings of such a magnitude that they will change Europe’s energy landscape, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced Tuesday.

“The signs show that we may be close to a very important discovery of gas and oil underground, which will affect the future of our country but will also play a role in the energy future of Europe,” Rama said, local media reported.

Albanian Infrastructure and Energy Minister Belinda Balluku said “we are impatiently waiting for the results of the exploration, which will be a large discovery,” adding that the proportion of the uncovered fuels “will be 40% gas and 60% oil”.

Shell PLC, which wholly owns Shell Upstream Albania (SUA), is reluctant to disclose details at the present time, according to Rama, who was speaking in the Netherlands, where he met his opposite number Mark Rutte as part of a bid to secure the commencement of talks on joining the EU. 

The last major discoveries of oil and gas in Albania were in the 1960s. Several companies searched for fossils fuels in the Balkan country in the 1990s, after the end of communism, but with little success.

In 2018, SUA announced plans to invest heavily in exploration for seven years, and signed a deal with Albania’s government for investigations around the Shpirag mountain, in southern Albania. The following year Shell said the area had potential oil wells – said to be over 6km deep – but added that the company had not decided on whether to exploit these. 

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant’s incursions in Albania have not been entirely welcomed by locals, and Rama recently promised to prohibit any economic activity around “Europe’s last wild river”, the Vjosa.