Albania to sell state oil firm, offer oil blocks

Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:48am EDT
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* Albania to sell state oil firm this year-PM

* Investors will be offered new exploration blocks

* Albania says has 40 million tonnes of easily extractable oil

By Benet Koleka

TIRANA, March 17 (Reuters) - Albania wants to try again to privatise its state oil company this year, and will soon begin offering its blocks for oil and gas exploration, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Tuesday.

The previous Democratic Party government, which Rama's Socialist-led coalition ousted in June 2013, cancelled the sale two years ago to a private buyer.

"We will end the long-drawn process of the privatisation of the state-owned Albpetrol company this year," Rama said.

"Since the very first day, it was clear to us Albpetrol was an anachronism and a hybrid that could not meet the challenges of the future," he told oil executives.

His audience included representatives of Shell, already active in Albania, Exxon Mobil, BP, Italy's Eni , Austria's OMV and Croatia's INA.   Continued...