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Albania’s Competition Authority launches in-depth investigation against Bankers Petroleum

Albania’s Competition Authority has launched an in-depth investigation against the biggest oil producer in Albania, Chinese-owned Bankers Petroleum, for possible violations of competition rules in the production and trade of crude oil.

The move followed media reports on protests and a hunger strike launched by employees of Balsh oil refinery operated by local company Tosk Energy, which accused Bankers Petroleum of creating such a situation. Bankers denied Tosk Energy's claims.

"The subject of the Competition Authority's activity is not the contractual relationship between the parties, but the establishment of free and effective competition in the market, against any entity that violates competition rules," the agency said in a statement. 

“Tosk Energy failed to fulfill terms and conditions of the Crude Sales Contract from 2019 being in full breach with the clauses many times," Albanian Daily News reported on February 27 citing a statement from Bankers.

It added that it has already filed a defamation lawsuit in a Tirana court.

Bankers launched operations in Albania in 2004. In 2016 the company was purchased by Chinese Geo-Jade Petroleum for CAD575mn (€400mn).

Albania’s Competition Authority announced in October 2019 that it planned to launch a six-month investigation into whether Bankers Petroleum abused its dominance in the oil production sector in the country after local refiners Tosk Energy and Al.Global Oil complained to the regulator.