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Galp 'not optimistic' about its offshore oil and gas prospects

galpLogoThe smooth slide into the Chairman’s seat at Galp Energía by Paula Amorim was accompanied by calming words of tranquility from Chief Executive, Carlos Gomes da Silva, who assured the assembled press that Paula Amorim is fully aligned with Galp’s strategy which focuses on developments in Brazil.

"We will have a peaceful coexistence," said Gomes da Silva of the new chairman of the board, Paula Amorim who takes over from her father, Portugal’s richest man, Américo Amorim.

Today also marked Galp’s tenth year on the Portuguese stock market, with Gomes da Silva saying he is confident about working with Paula Amorim, adding that "It will be easy if everyone does their work on a basis of transparency and openness,” and that the two management bodies (the board of directors and the executive committee) have been, and will continue to be, aligned.

Carlos Gomes da Silva said one of his many challenges from now on is to run existing projects in order to maintain Galp’s stock valuation with Galp’s renewed partnership with Brazil’s Petrobras key in "the development of new opportunities for both companies."

Asked about Galp’s plans for its concessions in Portuguese waters, da Silva said that the "window of opportunity closed."

This was due entirely to the anti-oil campaigning activities of various pressure groups such as ASMAA, PALP and Zero which managed to get a laughable attempt at a public consultation programme extended, thus scuppering Gal's autumn drilling programme.

"Portugal has an almost non-existent knowledge of its marine potential, including the energy part," says the CEO of Galp, bringing up the 'we just want to know what's there' excuse used by the current government as justification for the current oil and gas exploration and extraction concessions.   

For the Portuguese concessions Galp is in partnership with the Italian State oil company ENI whose history of bribery and corruption already has filtered through to stain Galp’s image. This consortium pushed for and received oil concession contracts in the absence of public consultation or environmental impact assessments in a programme pushed along by the Pedro Passos Coelho government and continued with enthusiasm by the current administration.

Galp's Carlos Gomes da Silva said he did not view the ENI partnership's prospects for development of the Peniche and Alentejo fields in an optimistic light.

"In the Alentejo there was a public consultation for offshore activity which was extended and a window of opportunity closed."

The CEO of Galp explained that the company has applied for and is awaiting the approval of a replacement license so it can drill in 2017 but the consortium is to re-evaluate the whole project, even though it has hardly got off the ground.

Pressure groups were cheered that Galp/ENI failed to start the planned Alentejo offshore drilling this autumn but are aware that the government remains pro-oil and that if a new license is issued to galp/ENI for 2017, the same environmental threats will continue to exist.