Interview with CEO of “Bankers Petroleum Albania”, Mr. Huanqin Xiao: “We will drill 25 new oil wells in 2022”

How was the performance of the company in 2021?
Bankers Petroleum Albania performance has been positive in 2021, as we were able to keep the pace of oil production in Patos-Marinza.  In 2021, oil production was 610,000 tons compared to 670,000 tons produced in 2020. The production fell slighlty due to the challenges we faced in 2020 when we were forced to reduce in minimum the activity in Patos-Marinza. Despite the increase of oil prices the financial situation did not allow us to get back to drilling new oil wells and so to increase further the production.

But I can proudly say that Bankers made it through those difficult months and years and  did not dismiss any of our employees in a time when many international oil companies went bankrupted. From 2015 to 2021, more than 600 oil and gas companies in North America were closed.

The company continued to increase investments in cost efficiency in the Patos-Marinza oil field and also payments to central and local government. Only last year, we have paid around 40.5 Million USD taxes. In total, since the start of its operations in Albania, Bankers has paid more than 820 Million USD to the Albanian State budget.

How is the progress so far in 2022? How have impacted the high oil prices your company’s activity
I must say that this year has been very positive for the oil industry after the difficult period faced during the pandemic. This situation allows us to restart drilling activity in Patos-Marinza oilfield. We plan to drill over 25 new oil wells (including 2 thermal horizontal wells) in the oilfield during this year and we are very optimistic that we are able to slow down the overall production drop.

Beside, drilling new horizontal wells we have also drafted the new strategy to produce with advanced technologies, such as thermal method which increases the energy in the layers and pushes more oil in the surface.

Investments in increasing the efficiency of operations will continue throughout this year.

Important projects to follow are the addition of oil treatment units and water treatment facilities, processes that are important in hydrocarbon operations.

Which are your plans for the future?
Bankers will continue to be a long-term value investor and it is mutually beneficial and win-win with the Albanian government. Bankers will continue to expand production (planned to gradually increase to 1 million tons in the next three years). We will drill more wells (45more wells will be drilled next year). If a good investment environment can be maintained, Bankers will continue to invest more and continue to make greater contributions to Albania.

A field like Patos-Marinza should produce at least 1 million tons a year. With the optimization of the technology, the favorable policy changes from the government, we hope to reach that target.

How difficult is for you finding well-skilled employees in Albania and how does this affect your business here?
Bankers is one of the biggest employers in Albania with more than 500 direct and 1500 non-direct employees. The employees are one of the most important aspects of our company and they have always been part of our success.

We have a specialized program developed with the University of Petroleum and Geology for internships for students which will become future oil engineers. The universities in Albania still lack in offering business practice and skills needed for today’s labor market and therefore we have opened Bankers “doors” to give to young generation the required skills for international companies. Many of these students are now employees of Bankers and work in Patos-Marinza oilfield.