Albania seeks investors for shuttered Ballsh, Fier refineries
HOUSTON, Jan. 19
By Robert Brelsford
OGJ Downstream Technology Editor
The Albanian government said it is willing to lend its full support to any private initiative that would redevelop Ionian Refining & Trading Co.’s (IRTC) recently shuttered 20,000-b/d Ballsh and 10,000-b/d Fier refineries in eastern Albania.
Albania’s government remains committed to detail to support any serious investor who will come up with a project for business development in Ballsh and Fier refineries, or a bid from an investor to develop a business plan in the sector, involving restart of both refineries, Arben Ahmetaj, Albania’s minister of finance and economy (MOEI) said in a release.
The statement follows in the wake of the shutdown of both refineries in late 2017 due to a lack of crude supplies and IRTC’s outstanding $60-million tax debt to the government, according to reports from local Albanian media.
As of May 2017, with the cooperation of MOEI and Bankers Petroleum Ltd.—Albania’s main crude oil producer—the Ballsh refinery was operating at 100% capacity, according to a Dec. 29, 2017, release from GOMG Holdings Ltd. announcing the sale of its minority interest in the Ballsh refinery to Delvina Investment Partners Ltd.
According to an Aug. 31, 2016, release from Bankers Petroleum, the outfit agreed to sell up to 65% of its crude oil production to IRTC to process at the Ballsh and Fier refineries from Oct. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2017, with the balance of production to be sold to the export market.
The crude supply contract, however, was not renewed, with Bankers Petroleum now exporting the totality of its Albanian crude production to buyers abroad, according to Albanian media reports.
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