Newsletter: Algarve oil contracts cancelled, Novo Banco sold to vulture fund

Dear reader

A week of news and views from the Algarve...

A brief newsletter this week (stop cheering at the back of the class) due to travel commitments.

The main story, kept until Friday evening, was the eventual agreement to sell 75% of Novo Banco to the US vulture fund, Lone Star.

The complexity of the deal to sell Novo Banco, or most of it, seems wholly unnecessary when late bidders would have paid four times the amount for 100% of the bank, thus avoiding the problem now facing the government which will have a hard time explaining how taxpayer funds are not at risk, which clearly they are.

I have criticised this sale process from the point at which the Bank of Portugal first aborted the sale process, claiming the Chinese bids were not high enough at €1.3 to €1.5 billion.

Giving the bank away at €750 million to a vulture fund represents the low-point of Carols Costas’ haphazard career which has been marked by one disaster after another.

The government can appoint the governor of the Bank of Portugal but it can’t sack him. The Bank of Portugal’s chief seems therefore to work for the European Central Bank which will nod the Lone Star deal through.

Lurking in the depths is Goldman Sachs, Pimco and Black Rock, three weighty investment funds that are still sore after being scammed by Carlos Costa in his €2 billion bond switch from Novo Banco to the old Banco Espírito Santo which turned money loaned in to ‘money never to be repaid.’

If these companies win in court and the missing €2 billion needs to be repaid, the taxpayer will pick up the tab as Lone Star surely will have indemnity from the government, carefully hidden in the small print, should Novo Banco be asked to honour the swithced bonds.

Novo Banco sold to US vulture fund Lone Star

Novo Banco sold to US vulture fund Lone Star

The Bank of Portugal's governor, Carols Costa, (pictured) today announced the sale of 75% of Novo Banco...

 

 

The anti-oil movement was taken aback on Thursday when the Repsol-Partex exploration areas to the south of the Algarve disappeared from the ENCM’s website map. Does this mean the contracts are cancelled, was this an early April Fools’ Day joke, was this change designed to switch attention from the imminent drilling off the Algarve-Alentejo west coast?

I asked seasoned activist Laurinda Seabra, who spent Friday in Lisbon at the launch of the government’s latest deep sea mining scheme, what has been going on:

The 4 contracts with Repsol-Partex, according to the people with whom I met yesterday, (Minister of the Sea, Ana Vitorino and the Secretary of State, Jose Apolinário) have indeed been cancelled and there was a government decree to the ENMC on 9th March.

“But all it means is that there's the risk now that new tenders will go out in the near future. There are changes to the laws ... but not enough. The biggest challenge is not the oil licences, it’s deep sea mining which its worse than I thought - and far more advanced than people think. We have at the most two to three years to stop it.”

So the government may be switching from its dreams to effortless riches from an oil industry to dreams of effortless riches from companies involved in deep sea mining for minerals, a highly controversial and damaging activity: more news on this soon but congratulations to the anti-oil activists, signatories, councils and tourism groups which have all helped show the government that it really needs to listen to people before acting.

As for deep sea mining, Seabra comments: “If we had reservations about deep offshore oil and gas exploration. Yesterday session (on deep sea mining) raised our concerns to a level ten on the Richter scale.”

Government cancels Algarve oil contracts

Government cancels Algarve oil contracts

The map of licences and concession areas published on the National Entity for the Fuel Market’s website...

 

 

The predicted result of last week's 'Algarve toll abolition' parliamentary debate surprised nobody as the tolls stay in place, the socialist government's stance remains the same, the concession contract's secret clauses remain secret and we are not grown-up enough to be told the cost of cancelling the deal. 

Meanwhile work on the EN125 continues, here and there. Remember, when the western section is completed and we get to experience a whole new series of roundabouts, work is scheduled to start on the eastern section from faro to the border. This work will take further years, if it ever starts, and the EN125 shambles does not match the Algarve's ambition to become a premier tourism region.

Get the basics right, infrastructure being one key part, and the rest will follow. Limping along with patched up roads and no rail link from the airport makes it look like the Algarve doesn't care.

 

Algarve motorway tolls stay - the government 'can't afford to scrap them'

Algarve motorway tolls stay - the government 'can't afford to scrap them'

Tolls on the Algarve’s Via do Infante motorway was discussed in Parliament once again on Thursday, but...

 

The proud Igreja Matriz in Olhão, erected before the 1755 earthquake and then again afterwards, is a building of national patrimony and is classified as such. Locals and tourists have been watching work to the exterior progress and a new coat of paint applied over centuries of layers. 

It seems that Olhão is not the place to mess with buildings as no sooner had the workmen started to apply a huge area of cement render to the southern aspect, eagle-eyed local experts contacted the regional cultural directorate which, with admirable swiftness, swooped and stopped all work on the building.

It seems the parish authorities had not realised that permission was needed before messing with this building and, as these are Churchmen, we must give them the benefit of the doubt. 

A full report and damage assessment now must be submitted and the concern now is that the Church will remain half dressed for years until someone works out how to repair the damage. 

 

 

 Olhão's principal Church seriously damaged by inept repair work

Olhão's principal Church seriously damaged by inept repair work

The Algarve’s Regional Directorate of Culture has ordered the immediate suspension of work being carried out on...

 

 

More news you may have missed in the week:

 

Easier to switch gas and electricity supplier with new government edict

Easier to switch gas and electricity supplier with new government edict

The government has passed an edict that, in theory, makes it easier for consumers to change their...

 

 
Travellers to UK detained at passport control for showing false documents

Travellers to UK detained at passport control for showing false documents

Borders Police at Faro airport have been on the ball with four travellers arrested carrying false documents. The...

 

 
Monchique's Medronho Festival - 'quality, not quantity'

Monchique's Medronho Festival - 'quality, not quantity'

Monchique council is continuing its support for the local 'medronho economy' by putting on a two day...

 

 
Portugal sets up task force to lure post-Brexit investment

Portugal sets up task force to lure post-Brexit investment

In a move that could be construed as in indecent haste, Portugal’s government has set up a...

 

 
 
Local council election day announced

Local council election day announced

The government has named the day for local council elections. Sunday, October 1st will see voters choose...

 

 
Left Bloc pushes government for explanation on Aljezur oil exploration and extraction licence

Left Bloc pushes government for explanation on Aljezur oil exploration and extraction licence

The parliamentary group of the Left Bloc asked the government on Thursday for the report on the...

 

 
Bottled gas users are paying 'double the price' of households with a mains supply

Bottled gas users are paying 'double the price' of households with a mains supply

The Economy Minister has said that a study by the Competition Authority will lead to lower bottled...

 

 
Dijsselbloem chickens out of meeting to explain his 'beer and women' comments

Dijsselbloem chickens out of meeting to explain his 'beer and women' comments

Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been invited to a European parliament session on April 4th but, fearing severe criticism...

 

 

 

 Madeira's airport renamed in honour of its favourite son

Madeira's airport renamed in honour of its favourite son

A bust of Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled on Wednesday in the newly named airport in Madeira, becoming...

 

 
Court rules short-term rental apartment owners don't need neighbours' permission

Court rules short-term rental apartment owners don't need neighbours' permission

The Association of Local Accommodation in Portugal (ALEP) announced today that the decision of the Supreme Court...

 

 

 

 Latest Features

And the winner is...

And the winner is...

Tuesday saw the culmination of the 2017 Rotary Algarve Schools Cookery Competition....

 
 'Algarve pop Up Art' Easter 2017 Event

'Algarve pop Up Art' Easter 2017 Event

'Pop Up' Gallery of Art, Crafts and Gifts at the Holiday Inn...

 
Rain delayed play for the ASB March ride

Rain delayed play for the ASB March ride

The March ride postponed for a week due to the recent bad...

 
Pinetrees Riding Centre - visit from British Ambassador, Kirsty Hayes

Pinetrees Riding Centre - visit from British Ambassador, Kirsty Hayes

Almancil was host to the British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes, who recently visited...

 
Weekly Currency Forecast

Weekly Currency Forecast

Right then… This is the week the U.K. Government will trigger Article 50,...

 

 

Bribes on the EN125 contract?

Bribes on the EN125 contract?

I’ve written several times that the reconstruction of the EN125 in the...

 Property

The price MUST be right

The price MUST be right

One of the secrets to selling your home efficiently is to PRICE it realistically. These properties are all listed by...

 

 
Guia - A Welcoming Community with all Amenities on your Doorstep!

Guia - A Welcoming Community with all Amenities on your Doorstep!

Guia is an increasingly popular central Algarve location for our Clients looking for all the convenience of living near a...

 

Property Conference, London - 9th May

Property Conference, London - 9th May

SAVE THE DATE! The Portuguese Chamber’s 2017 Property Conference will take place on Tuesday 9th May in the Alfred Lord...

 

 

What's happening

Lunch Debate with Secretary of State for Tourism - April 4th

Lunch Debate with Secretary of State for Tourism - April 4th

A lunch-debate with the Secretary of State for Tourism, Mrs. Ana Mendes Godinho, to be held on the 4th April from 12:15pm, at the Hilton Vilamoura. With the vast majority of...

Quinta dos Vales' "Open Door"  - April 2nd

Quinta dos Vales' "Open Door" - April 2nd

Easter Special; 2 Grand Pianos, 4 Dutch Pianists at Quintinha da Música

Easter Special; 2 Grand Pianos, 4 Dutch Pianists at Quintinha da Música

One of the highlights of the programme of classical music at Quintinha da Música is the arrival of 3 pianists from Holland to join with Irene Ainstein for an action...

 

This week's Activity Algarve Bike Rides

This week's Activity Algarve Bike Rides

 

 

Charity News

Goldra NOW - April 2017

Goldra NOW - April 2017

No sooner had the last edition gone out than the year´s first batch of pups arrived at the Sanctuary. So the puppy pen is busy again, and the task of...

 

 

Ed.

 

 

 

 Social media buffs can follow algarvedailynews.com on these two sites...

Follow us on Twitter  Follow us on Twitter Find us in Facebook  Visit us on Facebook

Unsubscribe

Powered by AcyMailing