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If the oil of Shpirag had been discovered 100 years ago...

2023-08-23 18:18:00, Opinione CNA

If the oil of Shpirag had been discovered 100 years ago...

Fabian Kati, an Albanian student of the 90s in Italy, defended his Master's degree there with a dissertation on Italian-Albanian relations of the 20s of the last century. His in-depth study, perhaps the most in-depth of those relations, has a very interesting chapter on the issue of oil that was then discovered in Albania. Which probably explains why the events have had the course they have had in Albania in the last 100 years...

After the Congress of Lushnja, when Tirana became the capital and the Albanian state began to establish its authority throughout the territory internationally recognized by the London Conference, Italy, Greece and the Kingdom of the South Slavs were in competition among themselves, with the aim of devoured or controlled pieces of the Albanian state in creation. And according to Kati's study, Great Britain suddenly appeared among them, through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

 

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was a British company founded in 1909 after the discovery of a large oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Persia (Iran). The British government bought 51% of the company in 1914, thus securing a controlling number of shares. This was the first company to extract oil from Iran. In 1954, it was renamed to "British Petroleum Company", which, in cooperation with Shell, has nowadays discovered quality oil in Mali e Shpirag...

100 years ago, today's deep drilling technology did not exist, and oil was found only in the Ku?ova and Marinza foothills. The quantity of oil was promising, but its quality was discouraging – it had a high sulfur content. However, the British government tried to get an exclusive concession for the Anglo-Persian company to explore and exploit oil in the entire territory of Albania.

Despite the bureaucratic and political delays of the new Albanian state, the Anglo-Persian Company did its preliminary research even during the time when there were uprisings and counter-uprisings, revolutions and counter-revolutions in Albania. And when Ahmet Zogu established complete control over the state and territory (being elected President of the Republic in January 1925), he set himself the goal of materializing the exclusive oil concession with the Anglo-Persian Company, which was practically owned by the government British.

Të ardhurat që mund t’i vinin buxhetit nga ai koncension do t’i jepnin mundësinë Zogut që mos t’ia shtrinte dorën as Mbretërisë së Sllavëve të Jugut (që e kishte ndihmuar të vitne në pushtet më dhjetor 1924), as Greqisë (që bënte presion ndërkombëtar për Vorio Epirin), dhe as Italisë (që synonte dominimin e Adriatikut jugor). Por Kompania Anglo-Persiane, pas shumë kërkimeve paraprake, arriti në konkluzionin se nafta shqiptare ishte e një cilësie shumë të dobët në thellësitë që mund të eksploroheshin deri në atë kohë. Si rrjedhojë, qeveria britanike humbi çdo interes strategjik për Shqipërinë, duke u fokusuar kryesisht tek Greqia, si pikë kyçe për kontrollin detar të Mesdheut Lindor.

Ahmet Zogu bëri edhe një përpjekje të fundit për të gjetur një linjë të pavarur finiacimi për shtetin e ri shqiptar, duke iu lutur Ligës së Kombeve në Gjenevë për ndihma financiare afatgjata, por SHBA ishte tërhequr në një kurs izolacionist atëherë, dhe nuk e ndihmoi Shqipërinë e vogël, siç e kishte ndihmuar në kohën e Presidentit Uillson. Dhe më në fund, mes ndihmës financiare sllave, greke e italiane, Zogu zgjodhi këtë të fundit…

In short, from Kati's study, it can be concluded that, if an oil of the quality of Shpirgu had been discovered in the western lowlands 100 years ago, the journey of the Albanian state would have been completely different. Albania would be considered a strategic ally of Great Britain before, during and after the second world war. And with great odds, it would have ended up in the western camp of the map of Europe, which is said to have been drawn by Stalin and Churchill at Yalta...

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