Albania: Bankers Petroleum-01/Patos
Health impacts, impacts to local infrastructure & environmental impact to water sources
Bankers Petroleum Ltd (Bankers) is a Canadian based oil and gas company exclusively focused on oil exploration and production in Albania. According to IFC, the company’s primary asset is the Patos Marinza heavy oilfield, in which it holds a 100% interest and right to full operatorship as it gradually takes over the field from Albpetrol, the Albanian national oil company. Bankers’ aim is to increase oil recovery rates and production of Patos Marinza. The company also holds 100% interest in a nearby oilfield, Kucova. IFC’s investment in the project entails a US$55 million A loan and $10 million in equity to help finance development of the company’s Albanian assets.
In March 2013, CAO received a complaint from a local environmental leader on behalf of a community residing in the vicinity of the Patos Marinza oilfield. The complainant, who was supported by residents of the community, claim the company’s operations have caused negative health impacts, accidents, contamination of irrigation networks, and seismic temblors that have damaged homes and buildings. Broadly, the complainants are concerned about the impact of oil and gas development in their area and potential risks and damages to communities and the environment.
CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in March 2013. Based on stakeholder discussions and outcomes of the assessment, the parties agreed to engage in dialogue with one another, and to explore options for a joint fact-finding process managed by CAO's dispute resolution function.
In December 2014, company and community representatives launched a formal Dialogue Roundtable process, facilitated by CAO. At that meeting, the stakeholders agreed on their dialogue goals, ground rules, and an overall work plan involving an Earthquake working group, an Environment working group, and a Social Investment Working Group. The working groups are comprised of community and company representatives who meet monthly to discuss issues and develop action plans. At bi-monthly meetings of the full Dialogue Roundtable group, participants share progress from their working groups and discuss challenges, opportunities, and next steps. The earthquake and environmental working groups were merged into one group, the Earthquake and Environment working group, in July 2015 to ensure a more efficient process, and to avoid duplicating efforts.
CAO worked closely with the parties to identify representatives and interests of the communities impacted by the company’s operations; build capacity of the parties to negotiate effectively; design an appropriate and engagement process; resolve key issues between the company, the community and the Government of Albania; and strengthen trust and cooperation between and among stakeholders.
On October 4, 2017, the Earthquake and Environmental Working Group of the Dialogue Roundtable agreed on a way forward regarding identification of the causes of seismic tremors in the Patos-Marinza area: the agreement consisted in jointly drafting a letter to the Government to request, among other things, information regarding the status of an inter-governmental process to investigate the causes of seismic tremors in the area, as well as the opinion of the Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment on a study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at Bankers Petroleum’s request. A copy of the letter and summary reports of the October 4th meeting of the Earthquake and Environmental Working Group, as well as a summary report of the latest meeting of the Social Investment Working Group, are available in the “View Documents” links below in English and Albanian.
At a meeting of the Dialogue Roundtable in February 2018, a representative of the Ministry of Energy provided feedback to the parties regarding the status of the inter-governmental process to investigate the causes of seismic tremors in the Patos-Marinza area, and confirmed that the Government is committed to keep the parties informed about the process. At the meeting, the parties also agreed to release final guidelines for an extended dialogue platform following the conclusion of the CAO dialogue process. The Guidelines outline topics of joint interest for continued engagement through a Community-Company Dialogue Roundtable regarding the environmental and social impacts of Bankers Petroleum operations in the Patos-Marinza area. The Guidelines are available under “View Documents” below in English and Albanian.
In May and September 2018, as part of its exit from the case, CAO observed two community-company roundtables, which were facilitated by dialogue group members. This marked the conclusion of CAO’s monitoring role, and as such, CAO is closing this case. The parties will continue to engage through the extended dialogue platform to discuss issues of concern related to the project.
CAO closed the case on November 13, 2018. A Conclusion Report is available under “View Documents” below in English and Albanian.
Status as of November 13, 2018