Research into the composition of the subsoil in the Vjosa valley in the vicinity of Përmet worried environmentalists during the month of April. Various media reported that companies such as “Shell” or “Geotec Spa” had started drilling according to a geophysical survey to find oil and gas resources.
Residents of Dëshnica in Përmet said that they had opposed the consultations with the companies for the exploration of new sources of hydrocarbons. They protested in front of the Përmet City Hall (click here to learn about the protest) and then launched an online petition (click here to see the petition).
The Shell company reacted a few days later saying on May 2 (click here to review the reaction) that it was a “geophysical study” and that it serves “to better understand the prospect of discovery in Block 2”.
“Regardless of the results of the geophysical survey, Shell will not drill for oil and gas in the Vjosa River, which is a natural moment of particular importance that we will respect, […] we will not drill for oil and gas in the central sub-zone of Zagoria, which enjoys special protection,” – was said by Shell, which in 2018 was awarded a contract (click here (in Albanian) to see the decision) for the exploration of the area by the Albanian government, a month after the latter has declared Zagoria a “Natural Park” (click here (in Albanian) to see the decision).
The activity of the Shell company raised the concern of environmentalists as EcoAlbania pledged to closely follow its development. The actor, at the same time a vocal environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio included his concern in another reaction to the Vjosa river made at the beginning of May.
Below is the national media coverage of this issue:
- The Italian mining exploration company is working on the banks of the Vjosa River (Exit.al)
- Oil in the Vjosa river, Shell starts research risking protected areas (Syri.net)
- The Vjosa River is being explored for oil, residents: “We don’t want them here” (Exit.al)
- Residents’ protest, Shell withdraws: There will be no drilling in the Vjosa River (AbcNews)
- Petition against oil exploration in the Vjosa River (Exit.al)
- Residents express skepticism about Shell’s promises that there will be no drilling for oil extraction in Vjosa (Citizens-Channel)
- Leonardo DiCaprio appeals again for Vjosa to be declared a National Park (Euronews-Albania)