TIRANA, June 18 Albanian villagers, blaming
Canada's Bankers Petroleum for what they called
underground explosions, protested for a second day on Monday
after opening the valves on storage tanks and releasing 1,000
tonnes of the company's oil.
Police arrested two villagers for breaking into Bankers'
tanks and causing damage estimated by the company at $1 million
(795,400 euros). Around 100 police intervened to prevent the
risk of the oil igniting.
Villagers in Zharres, near the southwestern town of Fier,
said they thought underground explosive techniques used to
extract crude had caused cracks in their houses and widespread
Bankers denied responsibility.
"We...declare that none of our hydrocarbon operations causes
explosions or earth tremors," Bankers' Albania general manager
Leonidha Cobo said.
Calgary-based Bankers is focused on developing the
Patos-Marinza onshore oilfield in Albania and has a deal with
state-owned Albpetrol to take over and re-activate 120-130 wells
Albania's Geoscience Institute has reported a series of deep
underground tremors over the last week, with the latest on
Sunday at 3.4 on the Richter scale at a depth of 12 or 13 km.
The villagers said the tremors happened regularly, most, as
did the latest on Sunday, at 4am.
Besjan Pesha, the executive director of Albania's National
Resources Agency, sat down with Bankers and the villagers to
negotiate a solution, promising a scientific investigation.