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Exploration Potential of Albania

SILVERMAN, MATTHEW R., Gustavson Associates, Boulder, CO

Albania is rich in natural resources, especially crude oil and natural gas. It has far greater petroleum reserves for its size than any

other country in Eastern Europe. However, Albania is historically the most politically isolated nation in Europe and one of the most xenophobic countries in the world. It has just begun to enjoy the sweeping political and commercial reforms that have characterized the rest of Eastern Europe in the past few years.

The nation consists of three principal geologic provinces. Strongly folded upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata comprise the Sub-Pelagonian and Pelagonian massifs in northeast Albania. Slightly folded Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks form the Albanides Mountains in the center of Albania. Coastal basins filled with Tertiary and Quaternary sediments are located in western Albania. These basins, including the Durres (or South Adriatic) basin, are productive of hydrocarbons. The search for oil and gas in the future is likely to be concentrated in these coastal basins and offshore in the relatively shallow waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Hydrocarbons have been trapped onshore in anticlines and tilted fault blocks, primarily in lenticular upper Miocene sandstones and in Helvetian limestones. Exploration for stratigraphic and other nonstructural traps may represent the best potential for future discoveries onshore. Albania's greatest oil and gas potential is probably in the Albanian shelf of the Durres basin, offshore.

No wells have ever been drilled offshore, and exploration is confined to a limited, nearshore seismic survey. Recent access to Albanian data suggests most published regional interpretations are many years out of date. Albania's offshore potential includes several zones of hydrocarbon generation in Mesozoic to Paleogene strata. Potential reservoirs include Neogene flysch sandstones and Mesozoic platform carbonates.

Albania has recently invited foreign oil companies to apply for offshore exploration rights. As Albania is opened to foreign investment in the petroleum sector, there is little doubt that modern seismic techniques and the deliverate search for subtle traps may be expected to lead to substantial new discoveries.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91007© 1991 AAPG International Conference, London, England, September 29-October 2, 1991 (2009)