July 19, 2019 / 10:42 AM / 4 months ago

Bankers Petroleum says Albanian output up 18 pct in H1 2019

TIRANA, July 19 (Reuters) - Bankers Petroleum Ltd. produced almost a fifth more crude oil from Albania’s Patos Marinza oil field in the first half of 2019 than in the same period last year, despite what the Chinese-owned company called a “challenging” period.

The company, which operates Patos Marinza, the largest onshore oil field in continental Europe according to the Albanian Energy Association, produced 15,059 barrels of crude oil per day in the first six months of the year, an 18 percent increase on the first half of 2018.

“We navigated the volatile and competitive heavy oil commodity markets and maintained a firm footing as a business,” Xingyun Sun, president and CEO, said, in a statement on Friday.

“At the same time, we were able to increase our crude oil production and revenue.”

Investments by Bankers and exploration by Royal Dutch Shell Unit Shell Upstream Albania B.V. — whose tests indicate a flow potential of several thousand barrels of oil per day from its Shpirag 4 well in central Albania — have revived hopes the oil industry could boost the economy of one of Europe’s poorest countries, a member of NATO seeking to join the European Union.

Bankers began exploration in Albania in 2004 and was bought by China’s Geo-Jade Petroleum Corp in 2016 for C$575 million (US$442.34 million) from its then Canadian owners. The company has since moved its headquarters from Calgary to Fier, in the south of the country.

Revenue edged up to US$146 million in the first half of 2019 from US$122.8 million in the same period of 2018, Bankers said, with total expenditure amounting to US$126 million.

Bankers said it had continued to build pipelines in the field, the only place where it operates, to reduce trucking activity, and more pipeline projects were being developed.

Bankers is running three rigs and drilled 49 new wells between January and June this year, 35 more than in the first half of 2018. It said its goal was for 38 more new wells by the end of December. (Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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