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Albania's Albpetrol Appeals Against Suspension of Director

Albania's state-owned oil company Albpetrol said it has lodged an appeal with a court in Vlora against the suspension of its director, Endri Puka.

Puka had been suspended by the court over his role in the termination of a concession contract with local gas and oil extraction company Phoenix Petroleum for the Amonica oil block, Albpetrol said in a statement earlier this week.

Albpetrol's decision to take back the oil block was motivated by theaccumulated debt owed by Phoenix Petroleum to Albpetrol, the poor management of the asset, as well as the lack of investments, Albpetrol said.

Following the termination of the contract in March, the prosecution offices in Vlora and Tirana have both brought charges against Albpetrol for breaking the concession agreement - with diametrically opposite motives, the company added.

The Vlora prosecution office has accused Albpetrol of delaying the recovery of the block from Phoenix Petroleum, and thus favouring the oil extraction company, while the Tirana prosecution office charged Albpetrol with causing losses to Phoenix Petroleum losses by terminating the contract.

Albpetrol was due to terminate the contract with Phoenix Petroleum last June, after informing the concessionaire of its intentions to take the block back but the National Agency for Natural Resources (AKBN) and the energy ministry asked Albpetrol back then to give Phoenix Petroleum a second chance to repay its debt, according to another statement, published by Albpetrol in April.

Phoenix Petroleum was granted the concession rights for three oil blocks and six natural gas blocks in 2013. Since the beginning of 2017, Albpetrol has terminated the contracts for the six hydrocarbon blocks.

(June 9, SeeNews)

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