Albania’s National Agency for Natural Resources, (AKBN) has issued the invitation for interested hydrocarbon companies to apply for exploration of free offshore blocks in Albania’s territorial seas.

After the head of Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI), Damian Gjiknuri, announced in March this year that the Albanian government will carry out the seismic profiling in the free marine blocks, AKBN invited interested companies last week to apply for Joni 5 and Rodoni free offshore blocks.

The blocks are located in the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea, respectively, offshore Albania. The deadline for application is June 25, 2015.

The AKBN has also invited all interested hydrocarbon companies to apply for free onshore blocks including Block 4, Block 5 and Block of Dumre, with the deadline for application being June 15, 2015.

The Minister also said that IIlia Gjermani will be MEI’s representative of a negotiating group that will be created for drafting the Basic Terms and Conditions of the Hydrocarbon Agreement.

According to minister’s order, AKBN will be in charge for evaluating the applications and forwarding the ones they find worthy to MEI for approval within 10 days from the deadline for the applications.

MEI will approve or reject the winning company for exploring offshore blocks within 7 days of receiving the proposal from AKBN, which means that the winning company, should there be one, will be known by the end of July 2015.

In March this year, the MEI held “Albania Oil, Gas & Energy 2015,” a two-day event where companies such as Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Anadarko, ENI, and Repsol were the special guests. At the event, Minister Gjiknuri said that the government will conduct competitive negotiation procedures to attract more serious companies that could afford investments in new research in Albania, in order to avoid past failures, where oil blocks were given to those “who were unable to fulfil the commitments made”.