27 Oct Covid-19 pandemics: initial losses in the oil and gas industry but recuperating swiftly
Tirana Centre for Journalism Excellence (TCJE) in collaboration with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Albania, organized on October 23 a meeting with economic journalists at Tirana Times Book House.
The meeting’s topic was ‘Covid-19 pandemics and oil and gas industry in Albania’. The purpose was to present the journalists with the latest developments in the oil and gas industry in Albania and how has the pandemic affected it.
The meeting was opened by EITI’s PR Ambassador Ledion Krisafi, who gave a general picture of the overall situation with Covid-19 pandemics in Albania, how it has affected the country’s economy in general and the oil and gas industry in particular. Mr. Krisafi made an historical review of the oil industry in Albania since the fall of the communist regime, and especially its renaissance in the last years.
A detailed presentation of the situation with Covid-19 in Albania and the oil and gas industry was done by Mr. Genci Tërpo, Director of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Albania. He said that it is still early to evaluate the complete impact of Covid-19 in the oil industry in Albania, but the initial impact has been considerable even though less than in the other countries. ‘’More importantly, the impact was seen in the extraction of oil in the second trimester of 2020. A considerable impact came from the decrease of oil prices in the international markets because of the falling demand for oil’’ said Mr. Tërpo.
He also said that in Albania AlbPetrol and Bankers Petroleum ceased production for a certain period and customs in Albania were faced with a considerable deficit in revenues from this industry. The decrease for the March-April in customs revenues was 2.3 billion Lekë, as oil exports decreased by 24 thousand tonnes compared with the same period last year, while in February exports were 6 tonnes higher than February 2019. Mr Tërpo said that excise revenues decreased by 1 billion Lekë, from VAT 600 million Lekë and from the mineral rent 180 million Lekë.
Mr. Tërpo also stressed the Albanian government’s intervention which greatly eased the impact of Covid-19 in the oil industry. Since the beginning of the pandemics, the Ministry of Energetics created an ad hoc task-force to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 in the oil industry and to recommend the necessary measures. In the end Mr. Tërpo said that the oil industry has started to recuperate and that it is affecting also other industries related to it.
The journalist’s questions in the end focused on the impact of a second possible quarantine in Albania and the possibilities of the oil industry to survive another such shutting down of activity. At the same time they asked how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the new investments in the oil industry and the perspective of other actors entering the Albanian market.