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NGOs and business groups demand government scraps Galp-ENI oil drilling licence

oilblocsalgarveThe Algarve Free of Oil group, PALP, has called for an urgent meeting with the government to sort out the suituation surrounding the test well licence granted to the Galp-ENI oil consortium.

PALP learned of the licence, granted on January 11th and hidden away on a little-watched website, and joins other industry and environmental groups in calling for the government to explain what exactly it is playing at.

PALP said today that it wants a meeting "as a matter of urgency."

PALP commented that the licence awarded to the Galp-ENI consortium, allowing drilling in the sea off Aljezur, "becomes more serious because the Government has legal grounds to end these contracts yet does not do so."

Comprised of around two dozen environmental and nature associations, PALP says that in December 2016, the cancellation of oil exploration contracts in the Algarve was reported, but it seems that this now only covered three contracts out of the nine that affect the Algarve and the 15 that affect the country.

The environmental association Quercus, which is part of PALP, and the Business Association of the Algarve Region (NERA) today also criticised the licence granted to the Galp-ENI consortium.

Quercus noted the 42,000+ names objecting to the drilling, submitted as part of the public consultation phase, had been ignored.

NERA expressed its "total surprise and disagreement" over the granting of the licence and assured its members that it will continue to oppose this type of oil exploration.

PALP recalled that on December 7, 2016, the Secretary of State for Energy issued an order against Portfuel, stating that "the concession contracts for oil research, development and production in the Aljezur and Tavira onshore areas of the Algarve," were rescinded.

On the same date, the government said it would also shut down the Repsol-Partex consortium as it had not followed the corrrect proceedures.

Last week, PALP learned that "the Directorate General of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services' (DGRM) issued a licence for the Galp-ENI consortium to conduct deep-sea test drilling off the shores of Aljezur, an action that had formally been opposed by more than 42,000 citizens and institutions in a public consultation."

PALP will continue to call for the scrapping of all these oil exploration contracts and calls on the government to communicate.

The organisation also considers that this situation "has become more serious because the government has legal grounds to end these contracts but does not do so" and because more than 40,000 objections were presented in the public consultation phase, all of which have been ignored.