Albania’s oil exports blocked due to closure of Petrolifera terminal

By bne IntelliNews June 1, 2016

Albania's oil exports have been halted due to the closure of the oil terminal Petrolifera Italo Albanese, after it was found to be responsible for the pollution of the sea near the coastal city of Vlore, one of the country's top tourist resorts.

The country's top oil producer Bankers Petroleum announced on June 1 it had temporarily curtailed production due to the closure of the export terminal. Other oil producers have also warned that the situation is unsustainable due to the lack of storage capacity.

"The suspension of the export terminal has led to a shortage of available crude storage at the port facility as well as within the Patos-Marinza oilfield. To accommodate this, Bankers will begin to curtail its production on Wednesday, June 1, which may lead to a full field shut-down in the next couple of days without the ability to export crude oil at the port," Bankers said. "The suspension is expected to be lifted in the coming days, allowing Bankers to resume its operations as usual."

The largest exporters of oil in Albania say that their output now is stored in warehouses, Top Channel reported on June 1. They have warned that the situation can not continue for a longer period due to the lack of storage capacities.

Albania exports around 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and Petrolifera is the main gateway for exports of oil from Albania due to both logistical and financial advantages. It offers affordable services due to its proximity to the largest oil fields in the country. 

Around five tonnes of crude oil leaked when the terminal operator was loading a ship on May 22. Albanian Environment Minister Lefter Koka said in a post on his Facebook page on May 24 that a day earlier the state environment inspectorate had suspended the activities of the oil terminal operator, Petrolifera, which was responsible for the pollution.

A five-kilometre stretch of coast area near Vlore in southwest Albania was polluted by oil spilled from a ship near the area. The leak has now been cleaned up, according to Bankers.

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