TIRANA (AP) – Export-Import Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, wants to help fund the construction in Albania of a new thermo-power plant and a trans-Balkan oil pipeline, the government’s press office reported yesterday. Ex-Im Bank’s senior managers sent a letter to Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano saying US exporters had contacted the bank about the new thermo power plant in Vlore, 140 kilometers (87 miles) southwest of capital, Tirana, and an oil pipeline passing through the country. «Ex-Im Bank is most interested in pursuing both of these projects,» the letter says, according to Albania’s government. Albania will build the new oil- and gas-powered thermal power plant at a cost of $112 million. Funding is being provided by the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and Albanian Electro-Energy Corporation. Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also have approved the construction of an oil pipeline across the three Balkan countries. The 913-kilometer (567-mile) pipeline will ship 750,000 barrels of oil a day, or 35 million metric tons (38.6 million US tons) per year, from the Caspian Sea to the West. «Albania is a very important country for us, and we recognize the tremendous progress the country has made over the past several years,» said Ex-Im Bank, which helps finance projects for the export of US goods and services to international markets.