* Petromanas sells Albanian assets to Shell
* Albania sees Shell’s full ownership as good sign
TIRANA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Petromanas Energy Inc, a small Canadian company that helped to draw Royal Dutch Shell to Albania, sold all its assets in the Balkan country to Shell’s local branch for $45 million, Petromanas said in a statement.
Thanks to its technical expertise, Petromanas got Shell interested with its drilling at Shpiragu well in southern Albania, close to a spot where Occidental found oil in non-commercial quantities more than a decade ago.
Shell first bought a 50 percent stake in their joint venture in 2012, and increased it to 75 percent in 2013. Later Petromanas announced they had found light oil and sweet gas at Shpiragu and also drilled a well nearby in Molisht.
“Shell has agreed to acquire all of Petromanas’ Albanian assets for aggregate gross proceeds of US$45 million (subject to closing adjustments),” Petromanas said, adding the deal was expected to close around March 15.
Petromanas is winding up its operations in Albania and plans to return around $43 million of the proceeds to its shareholders.
The fields being developed by the joint venture are to the east of the Patos Marinza oilfield, the biggest in Albania.
Albania’s Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri said Shell’s purchase was a good signal and a vote of confidence for Albania’s oil and gas policies.
“When a company like Shell acquires 100 percent of the shares and the operatorship even in the hard times of low oil prices, we can only be thrilled for the future of the industry,” Gjiknuri told Reuters.
Shell Upstream Albania was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting By Benet Koleka; Editing by Keith Weir)