The oil sector has been strategically important and the main contributor to the economic development in the country before the 90s. Oil exploration in Albania began in 1918. Since then, oil bearing fields were discovered in the onshore and offshore areas, and the country developed a complex oil refining industry throughout the years 1970-1980.
Albanian oil sources, which are distributed in the western and south-western part of Albania are mainly in two structures: sandstone and limestone.
Currently these sources have considerable reserves but their full potential extraction needs advanced secondary methods. According to studies performed by foreign companies and Albpetrol between year 1985 and 1990, petroleum reserves at existing Albanian drill sites totalled about 437.6 million tons, however recoverable stocks estimated based on extracting methods applied in those years amounted to only 81 million tons. Estimated geological reserves from sandstone structures comprised 77.4% of total geological reserves, however their recovery was assessed at 13%. Recovery of geological reserves from limestone formations varied from 24% to 53%.
Based on the same studies Albania’s known natural gas reserves have been estimated at 18,164 million Nm3 and lie mainly in the Kuçova and Patos areas.