Shell Upstream Albania has come to the decision to abandon its plans for oil exploration in a protected area near Gjirokastra, following protests by residents and the opposition of cultural and heritage specialists, according to information from Albanian. Shell Upstream Albania is an 100% subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.
“Regardless of the results of the seismic surveys planned by the company in plot 4, Shell will not proceed with exploration and drilling in the Zagori region – an area near Gjirokastra – which is subject to special protection under the Albanian legislation”, said Shell’s head in Albania, Rohan D’Souza.
The fact that no drilling will be carried out in the Zagorian National Park was also confirmed by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama with his post on Twitter.
It is noted that the protected area of Zagori is characterized by its unique ecosystem and has been declared a national park since July 2018.
Residents of the Albanian villages of Pogoni and Zagori refused to meet on Thursday with representatives of Shell who visited the area to brief on oil explorations in plot 4.
Shell’s initial study provided for the opening of about 3,000 drilling wells measuring 9 centimeters wide and 30 centimeters deep, in order to assess the prospects of the subsoil.
Recently, the Albanian prime minister had said that Shell was close to the discovery of “huge” gas and oil reserves in Shpirag, in the Albanian south.
“We are just a few weeks away from the revelation of the real picture, with all the evidence supporting the existence of a huge field of gas and oil”, Edi Rama had said.
It is recalled that in February 2018, the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy signed an agreement for exploration and development of hydrocarbons with Shell Upstream Albania for plot 4 in the Shpirag mountain range.
Shell plans to invest about USD 42.5 million over seven years in research into new oil deposits in Albania./IBNA