In the summer of 2016, then Minister of Finance Arben Ahmetaj announced at the reopening of the ARMO oil refinery in Ballsh further “investments” in oil wells in southerns Albania.
Recently, on November 23, the Rama government approved a Production Sharing Agreement of Alpetrol with Canadian oil company Pennine Petroleum, which has acquired the rights to develop the Velça Block (with a 90% working interest in the PSA). The PSA is for a period of 6 years, with a possible extension to 25 should new sources be found.
The Board of Directors of Pennine Petroleum includes a director called Harry Sargeant IV, the son of Harry Sargeant III. Like his father, Sargeant IV is active in the Ionian Refining & Trading Company (IRTC), the investor that is currently “renting” the ARMO refinery, and which has consistently failed to pay worker or cover their mandatory insurances with impunity, while they work in mortally dangerous circumstances.
In the past, Sargeant III has been involved in legal conflicts, bribery, and – according to the US Ministry of Defense – “the worst form of war profiteering,” which landed him on the black list of the US government.
Sargeant IV was appointed on the board of Pennine Petroleum in May 2017, as part of a deal for a CAD$2 million (~€1.3 million) loan the company received from IRTC, Sargeant IV’s father’s company. The loan came after the discovery of 35.5 million barrels of oil in the Velça Block. Further exploration is expected to cost CAD$500,000. In exchange Sargeant IV received 500,000 stock options, knowing that Pennine Petroleum would soon receive a deal with the Albanian government.
As Sargeant IV indicated in an interview, the oil drilled from the Velça Block will be refined in the Fier and Ballsh refineries operated by IRTC, while adding to the ever increasing losses and debts of ARMO, which rents the facilities to IRTC below the cost.
According to data from the National Business Registry, Pennine Petroleum opened a subsidiary branch in Albania on September 28, 2017 under the name Pennine Petroleum Albania. Curiously, the registration states that Sargeant IV was appointed to the board of directors on September 18, 2001, rather than in May 2017.
In response to investors’ worried queries regarding the involvement of Sargeant III and IV’s involvement in Pennine Petroleum, whose stock has dropped ever since the announcements of May 2017, Pennine representative Dean Stuart stated:
Harry III is father / Harry IV is son – Mr. Sargeant is Vice President of Global Oil Management Group Ltd. (“GOMG”), a Boca Raton, Florida-based international oil corporation. GOMG, through its subsidiary Ionian Refining & Trading Company Ltd. (“IRTC”), is a leading independent energy firm with operations in Albania, as well as Texas and Alabama.
Pennine has credit facility with Ionian Refining & Trading Company.
As far as accusations and previous postings, do you own due diligence. We continue to move forward with our plans for development in Eastern Europe, which is focused on the Albania Velca project.