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Albania – Dubious Deals

Incident: The sale of Albpetrol to ostensibly US-based Vetro Energy in September has been stalled after Vetro failed to make the deposit to back the guarantee. Vetro Energy was the highest bidder, with a $1.1 billion offer (€850 million), more than triple the value of Albpetrol’s assets. Bankers Petroleum of Canada—the largest producer in Albania and the key company responsible for developing Albania’s oil fields—also bid for Albpetrol, but was excluded in the first round with a lower bid of €304 million. In a private investigation at the time of the bidding process, Oilprice intelligence networks uncovered the true ownership of Vetro Energy, based in the US. Albanian tycoon Rezart Taci owns a 51% stake in Vetro Energy, though this information was only revealed to the public after the company won the tender for Albpetrol. The government is now waiting for Vetro to deposit 20% of the contract as a guarantee. Vetro has already missed two deadlines to pay the deposit and sign the contract. Still, the government is extending the deadline to an undefined date. However, if the sale collapses, the government will claim the cash already deposited (10%) with the tender offer.

Bottom Line: The failed closing of the sale of Albpetrol could be good news for the largest producer in Albania—Canada’s Bankers Petroleum—and bad news for US/European/Azeri pipeline ambitions.

Analysis: Taci is a very influential figure. Taci owns…

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