No more quarantine for foot-and-mouth in Has

HAS, Aug. 28 – Authorities said they had lifted the quarantine for the foot-and-mouth disease imposed on the village of Nikoliq and a quarter in Kruma town since June.Authorities said, however, they were continuing a strict monitoring of the area

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Lockheed Martin signs deal to modernize Albania’s coastal surveillance system

TIRANA, Aug. 22 – The US firm Lockheed Martin signed a $17 million deal on Tuesday to build Albania’s maritime surveillance system. The U.S.-based company will install command and sensor centers with radars that will collect data for defense and

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Trade exchange with Turkey in May was 9 billion leks

TIRANA, Trade exchange between Albania and Turkey in May this year were 8.984 billion leks, which is a 42 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Institute of Statistics. Albania imported 8.494 billion leks of

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AMBO last step meeting to be held in September in Tirana

TIRANA, Aug. 16 – A last meeting to set the finishing touches to the deal among Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the AMBO group will be held Sept. 13 in Tirana, according to vice Ministry of Energy and Industry Gjergj Bojaxhi.

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International tender launched on road segment of Kosovo bound highway

TIRANA, Aug. 14 – The Albanian Ministry of Transport launched Monday an international tender on Milot-Rreshen road segment, part of the Durres-Kukes-Morine highway. That was an international tender also including local companies bidding. The bidding will be open Sept. 25.

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Government helps local authorities for legalization process

TIRANA, Aug. 15 – The government added 30 million leks to the local government authorities countrywide in an effort to give a push to the legalization process that has started last month, the vice director of the Agency of Legalization

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Bankers Petroleum increases production, profit in Albania

Tirana, Aug. 14 – According to a news statement Monday from the Bankers Petroleum Ltd., the company has achieved better results during Q2 in Albania. In a report issued Monday the BP spoke at detail about its revenue and expenditure

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ProCredit Bank hikes deposit interest rates

TIRANA, Aug. 16 – ProCredit Bank increased the interest rates for the U.S. dollar and Euro deposits in an effort to attract more persons bring their money. The bank saves money with a maturity time from one month to five

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Albanian C-Bank To Rule on Sale of 11.25% EBRD Stake in ProCredit Bank

TIRANA, Aug. 16 – Albania’s central bank said on Wednesday it had received a request from the local unit of international banking group ProCredit on the sale of a 11.25% stake owned by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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Business in Brief

Albtelecom lowers call tariffs to mobile operators TIRANA, Aug. 16 – Albtelecom announced Wednesday that starting September 1 call tariffs from fixed lines to mobile operators would lower by 12 leks per minute, from 74 leks to 62 leks per

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                    [post_content] => HAS, Aug. 28 - Authorities said they had lifted the quarantine for the foot-and-mouth disease imposed on the village of Nikoliq and a quarter in Kruma town since June.Authorities said, however, they were continuing a strict monitoring of the area that has been known for that disease. There was noticed no new case of the disease in the last two months, they said.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 22 - The US firm Lockheed Martin signed a $17 million deal on Tuesday to build Albania's maritime surveillance system. The U.S.-based company will install command and sensor centers with radars that will collect data for defense and law enforcement officials to identify vessel trafficking and control security along Albania's Adriatic and Ionian coasts. "The surveillance system will help Albania identify all vessels in the seas, make it more efficient in the fight against trafficking, and also increase Albania's cooperation with NATO in the fight against terrorism," Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu said at a news conference. "We will provide our advanced technology and capabilities to meet the many missions of Albania and to support safety and economic development initiatives," said Denise Saiki, Lockheed Martin's vice president for integrated programs. The $17m agreement was first approved in 2005, by the socialist government of former Prime Minister Fatos Nano. The document was then modified and finally adopted by Sali Berisha's cabinet this month. "This investment is in the framework of the programs for increasing regional integration, and is part of the strategies of the Albanian Armed Forces to prevent possible negative phenomena in the coastal areas and the country's sea territory," the Council of Ministers said in a statement. Authorities are establishing a new structure that will deal with implementation of the contract. Lockheed Martin also is undertaking the modernization of Albania's air traffic management infrastructure, under a contract extension approved last year. The company already performed a rapid refurbishment of the decades-old infrastructure in time to handle air traffic during the 2004 Olympics in neighboring Greece. The overhaul is part of the country's National Airspace Modernization Project. The renovations include a new air traffic control operations building, airport control tower, long-range radar, communications and navigation aids, and new air traffic automation computers and displays. The effort also includes additional training for controllers and engineers and other infrastructure modernization. Future work includes integration of the Skyline system with new communications, navigation and surveillance capabilities that will link the air traffic system to other airports in the region. 
The Albanian army is under a reform program along with the country's efforts to join NATO by 2008.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Trade exchange between Albania and Turkey in May this year were 8.984 billion leks, which is a 42 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Institute of Statistics. Albania imported 8.494 billion leks of products from Turkey and exported only 490 million leks. Imports are made up of minerals, wooden materials, metals, wires, other metal profiles, machinery, equipment and so on. While Albania imported wood products and other agriculture products.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 16 - A last meeting to set the finishing touches to the deal among Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the AMBO group will be held Sept. 13 in Tirana, according to vice Ministry of Energy and Industry Gjergj Bojaxhi. All the sides are expected to sign a convention for further work. At the end of July a meeting was held in Bulgaria where Albania also expressed her concern on moving the trace end from Vlora, following protests from local residents there claiming it would soil the tourist area. The oil pipeline brings oil from the Caspian Sea through Burgas port in Bulgaria, through Macedonia and then to Albania to trade it to western European countries. Changing the trace in Albania will prove a difficult task for the government as the group has made a $1 million feasibility study before to set that place as the ending point.
                    [post_title] =>  AMBO last step meeting to be held in September in Tirana 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug.  14 - The Albanian Ministry of Transport launched Monday an international tender on Milot-Rreshen road segment, part of the Durres-Kukes-Morine highway. That was an international tender also including local companies bidding. The bidding will be open Sept. 25. The Milot-Rreshen road is a 26 kilometer segment that has $35 million for its rehabilitation. The first 9 kilometer segment Milot-Skurraj is funded with $13 million from the World Bank and the Albanian government.
                    [post_title] =>  International tender launched on road segment of Kosovo bound highway 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 15 - The government added 30 million leks to the local government authorities countrywide in an effort to give a push to the legalization process that has started last month, the vice director of the Agency of Legalization Ferdinand Shehu said Tuesday. The Interior Ministry will distribute the funding according to the needs. Saying 80 percent would be used to payback owners and 20 percent for the administration needs. "We guarantee the local government authorities of the support at each stage for further progress of this big economic reform," said Shehu.
Until now there have been some 80,000 files created for the legalization process. Now they expect further documentation.
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                    [post_content] => Tirana, Aug. 14 - According to a news statement Monday from the Bankers Petroleum Ltd., the company has achieved better results during Q2 in Albania. In a report issued Monday the BP spoke at detail about its revenue and expenditure in the tiny Balkan country.
Bankers Petroleum Ltd. (TSX: BNK, AIM: BNK) today announced significantly improved second quarter results. Revenue for the quarter more than doubled to $7.4 million compared to $3.0 million in the second quarter of 2005. Funds from operations was $3.3 million, compared to cash used in operations of $200,000 for the comparable period in 2005. "We continue to achieve significant improvements in our operations quarter-over-quarter," said Richard Wadsworth, President. "In the second quarter, our activities resulted in improved netbacks, resulting from primarily reduced operating expenses and strong production gains in Albania. This brought our June exit production to 3,500 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and contributing to our current production of approximately 4,000 bopd." 
During the second quarter this year BP's netback in Albania improved to $11.09 per barrel from $8.51 in the preceding quarter and $6.04 per barrel for the same period in 2005. In Albania, average production per well increased to 38 bopd from 33 bopd in the preceding quarter.
Bankers Petroleum Ltd. is a Canadian-based oil and gas exploration and production company focused on opportunities in unconventional petroleum assets. It also operates in the Patos-Marinza oilfield in Albania pursuant to a license agreement, producing heavy oil. Bankers shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the AIM Market in London, England under the ticker symbol BNK. 

In/on Albania
The Company has negotiated a new price formula for its oil exports under the existing contract with the same Italian refinery. Under this amendment, the price is determined based on the end products refined from the Company's crude, independent of Brent oil price. The average export price using this formula resulted in $35.95 per barrel in July 2006. Had the Company used the old pricing mechanism, the price received would have been $33 per barrel. This change in pricing formula is expected to increase the Company's revenues, netback, and funds from operations for the balance of the year. 
Other significant events during the quarter included:
-  At the end of June 30, 2006, Bankers had 85 wells on production, 36 wells waiting for minor and major servicing, and 15 wells waiting for reactivation. Average production per well increased to 38 bopd from 33 bopd in the preceding quarter.
-  The Company exported approximately 26% of its crude during the second quarter.
-  Oil revenue was $7.4 million compared to $5.7 million for the preceding quarter and $3.0 million for the same period in 2005, increases of 30% and 147% respectively.
-  Net operating income for the period was $3.2 million compared to $1.9 million for the immediately preceding quarter and $811,000 for the same period a year ago, increases of 68% and 295% respectively.
-  Albanian capital expenditures were $13.1 million for the quarter compared to $8.5 million for the preceding quarter and $3.9 million for the same period in 2005.
During the quarter, production continued to increase as more wells were re-activated in Albania, bringing the active well count to 85 compared to 67 in December 2005. As at June 30, 2006, the Company also had 36 wells waiting for servicing and 15 wells for reactivation. Daily production increased 24% to 3,193 bopd from 2,579 bopd for the preceding quarter and 109% from 1,527 bopd from the same period a year ago. The exit production rate was approximately 3,500 bopd at June 30, 2006, and further production increases are continuing into the third quarter. 
Bankers exported approximately 26% of its crude oil to Italy during the quarter at an average price of $31.61 per barrel. The rest of the sales were made to the Albanian Refining and Marketing of Oil Company, Armo Sh.A (Armo), at an average price of $23.58 per barrel. The Company's average crude oil price for the quarter was $25.64 per barrel, up slightly from $25.55 per barrel for the preceding quarter. 
Oil and gas revenues for the quarter were $7.4 million up from $5.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2006 and $3.0 million for the corresponding quarter a year ago, increases of 30% and 148% respectively. 

Royalties, Direct Expenses and Netbacks 
Royalties are calculated pursuant to the Petroleum Agreement with Albpetrol in Albania, and consist of Albpetrol's pre-existing production and a 1% gross overriding royalty on production. Royalties decreased moderately to $2.98 per barrel from $3.05 per barrel in the preceding quarter. This was related to more robust production rates achieved from the newly reactivated wells. 
Operating expenses per barrel declined significantly to $9.91 from $12.31 per barrel in the preceding quarter. This is due in part to the Company giving additional focus on well reactivations, where 36 wells were reactivated at a pace of 12 wells per month. The results of the wells reactivated in the quarter were better than average. Increasing production is generating economies of scale. While the last trend is expected to continue into the future, the impact of the former ones will fluctuate from period to period. 
The Company's netback per barrel improved to $11.09 per barrel from $8.51 per barrel in the preceding quarter primarily as a result of lower unit operating expenses. The netback for the corresponding period in 2005 was $6.04 per barrel. 
The Company incurred $7.1 million in well reactivations in Albania during the quarter. The balance of the expenditures was primarily related to increase in field inventory and miscellaneous asset acquisitions. 
Capital expenditures during the second quarter of 2005 were $8.9 million of which $3.9 million were incurred on well re-completions and facilities in Albania and the balance on the Palo Duro land acquisitions in the United States. 
The Company estimated its undiscounted asset retirement obligations in Albania as $7.8 million based on the 169 wells taken over from Albpetrol to date. This amount will be settled at the end of the Company's 25-year license. The net present value of $908,000 of asset retirement obligations was estimated based on a credit-adjusted risk free rate of 9%. Asset retirement obligations were increased to $949,000 at June 30, 2006 as a result of accretion. 
The capital expenditures for the balance of the year are estimated as $12 million for Albania and $8 million for the U.S. The current field inventory levels and the outstanding prepaid orders will be largely sufficient for well reactivations in Albania during the balance of 2006. The cash capital expenditures in Albania estimated at $6 million will be payments to local contractors in Albania which will be financed by funds from operations. 
Bankers has agreed to the terms of a $20 million debt facility with an Albanian based international financial institution to fund the ongoing capital expenditures in Albania. This facility is expected to be in place during the third quarter. The Company however will require other sources of funding in the coming years to finance its capital expenditures in the United States and Albania.
In March 2006, the Company's Plan of Development for the Patos Marinza heavy oilfield in Albania was approved by the National Petroleum Agency of Albania (NPA). Under the Plan of Development, the Company estimated the remaining capital expenditures as at January 1, 2006 between $155.0 million to $213.0 million during the life of the Patos Marinza project. 
The estimated capital expenditures during the next five years are as follows: 
($ millions)                            Low Case                  High Case
2006                		30.2        		29.7
2007                      		38.3        		42.2
2008                      		31.6        		29.4
2009                      		9.5        		41.6
2010                      		10.9        		15.5
Remaining              		34.5        		54.6
                               	                155.0       		213.0

Under the Petroleum Agreement, Bankers is required to submit an annual program to NPA which includes the nature and the amount of capital expenditures to be incurred during that year. Significant deviations in this annual program from the Plan of Development will be subject to NPA approval. The Petroleum Agreement provides that disagreements between the parties will be referred to an independent expert whose decision will be binding. The Company has the right to relinquish a portion or all of the contract area. If only a portion of the contract area is relinquished then the Company will continue to conduct petroleum operations on the portion it retains and the future capital expenditures will be adjusted accordingly. In the event that Bankers is not able to generate sufficient capital resources, it may be required to renegotiate the Plan of Development or relinquish all or part of the contract area. 
The Company has no commitments under operating leases for office space and equipment. 
Bankers has a significant investment in Albania. There are a number of risks associated with conducting foreign operations over which the Company has no control, including political instability, potential and actual civil disturbances, ability to repatriate funds, changes in laws affecting foreign ownership and existing contracts, environmental regulations, oil and gas prices, production regulations, royalty rates, income tax law changes, potential expropriation of property without fair compensation and restriction on exports. Additional risks that may affect the Company and its operations are set out in its AIF filed under the Company's profile on www.sedar.com. 
Based on the success of well reactivations and production to date in Albania, the Company revised upward its exit production rate for 2006 to 4,200 bopd from 3,800 bopd. The average production for 2006 is expected to exceed 3,300 bopd which represents an increase of 96% over the average production of 1,687 bopd in 2005. Favourable oil prices and better export terms negotiated by the Company should result in higher average prices and revenues for the Company during the balance of the year. This coupled with lower unit operating expenses should result in higher netbacks, earnings and funds from operations. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 16 - ProCredit Bank increased the interest rates for the U.S. dollar and Euro deposits in an effort to attract more persons bring their money.  The bank saves money with a maturity time from one month to five years. It is the only bank offering such a long maturity rate in the country. It said it was offering preferential terms for credit as well.
The bank, opened 11 years ago, has some 120,000 clients in 21 branches countrywide.
                    [post_title] =>  ProCredit Bank hikes deposit interest rates 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 16 - Albania's central bank said on Wednesday it had received a request from the local unit of international banking group ProCredit on the sale of a 11.25% stake owned by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). "ProCredit Bank Albania has submitted to the Bank of Albania a request for the approval of the transfer of the 11.25% stake held by the EBRD to ProCredit Holding," the central bank said in a statement.ProCredit Holding is currently the biggest shareholder in ProCredit Bank Albania with a 32.5% stake. Provided the central bank gives its approval to the request, ProCredit Holding's equity will rise to 43.75%.The other shareholders in ProCredit Bank Albania are the German bank for reconstruction and development KfW, Germany's Comerzbank, the EBRD and the World Bank's private investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).It was not immediately clear when Albania's central bank will rule on the request.ProCredit Bank Albania had a 2.7 million euro ($3.5 million) net profit on a 13.3 million euro net operating income for 2005, up 114% and 36%, respectively. It had total assets of 191.3 million euro at the end of 2005, up 31% from a year earlier. It currently runs a network of 19 branches countrywide.The total assets of the Albanian banking system, which comprised 16 banks last year, reached almost 4.0 billion euro at the end of 2005.ProCredit Bank Albania became part of the ProCredit group in 2003. The bank was previously named Fefad Bank, licensed by the central bank in 1999, and was owned by the Fefad Foundation, a joint initiative of the Albanian Finance Ministry, the EBRD, the IFC and German investment fund Internationale Micro Investitiones AG (IMI).ProCredit is the only bank in Albania rated by international ratings agency Fitch. The agency affirmed its 'B+' foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) for the bank in June. The short-term foreign currency and the short-term local currency ratings were affirmed at 'B' and the local currency IDR at 'BB_. The bank's other ratings were affirmed at individual 'D/E' and support '4'.
                    [post_title] =>  Albanian C-Bank To Rule on Sale of 11.25% EBRD Stake in ProCredit Bank 
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                    [post_content] => Albtelecom lowers call tariffs to mobile operators
TIRANA, Aug. 16 - Albtelecom announced Wednesday that starting September 1 call tariffs from fixed lines to mobile operators would lower by 12 leks per minute, from 74 leks to 62 leks per minute, making a much required step from the consumers. That is made following new interconnection contracts that Albtelecom made recently with the two mobile operators in the country, AMC and Vodafone.

Lower insurance tariffs
Government promotes imported machinery, lowers insurance tariffs In a promoting step the government decided to ask farmers to pay back in seven years all the machinery and other technology they have profited from a Japanese grant. It will be paid in leks to the exchange rate of the day. The other commission rates will not be paid from them. That is a clear sign of promoting the local farmers and urging development of agriculture. As promised during the electoral campaign last year and in the last year, the government lowered the payment for social insurance, starting from Sept. 1 to 4,323 leks per month, or 32.9 percent of the monthly salary, where 21.7 percent would be paid by the employer and 11.2 percent from the employee. For the insurance the minimum monthly salary was considered to be 13,140 leks.

Albania To Start $8.76 Mln Foreign-Funded Hospital Project by Year's End
TIRANA, Aug. 14 - Albania will start building a $8.76 million (6.9 million euro) regional hospital in Kavaja, southern Albania, by the end of the current year, a Health Ministry official said on Monday."By the end of the year we will pick the company that will execute the construction works," said spokeswoman Odeta Halili.The project is jointly funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the OPEC Fund for International Development. IDB is expected to lend $5.69 million for the construction works and technical consultancy to the project, while OPEC will fund the purchase of medical equipment for the hospital worth $2.42 million. The Albanian government will provide $650,000 to cover administrative costs.The 80-bed hospital will have pediatrics, surgery, maternity, pathology wards and a small rehabilitation ward.It will provide health care services to some 120,000 people living in the city of Kavaje and the region, who now need to go to the nearby city of Durres, in the west, or to the capital Tirana.

Servkom and Albpetrol merge in one
FIER, Aug. 14 - Oil research company Servkom and the other extracting one Albpetrol merged in one company, the two state-owned companies said. Their boarding councils decided their merge and Servkom turns into a department at the Albpetrol considering it as the successful solution for more production in the future. Servkom was not profitable in the last years creating a significant deficit.
                    [post_title] =>  Business in Brief 
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            [post_content] => HAS, Aug. 28 - Authorities said they had lifted the quarantine for the foot-and-mouth disease imposed on the village of Nikoliq and a quarter in Kruma town since June.Authorities said, however, they were continuing a strict monitoring of the area that has been known for that disease. There was noticed no new case of the disease in the last two months, they said.
            [post_title] =>  No more quarantine for foot-and-mouth in Has 
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