The Algarve’s leading anti-oil and gas campaigning organisation, ASMAA, this morning presented a detailed legal action at the Attorney General's Office requesting an immediate halt to offshore oil and gas drilling in the Alentejo basin and for the immediate cancellation of the Galp-ENI licence for the Santola exploration block off Aljezur.
The organisation’s action, a full 126 pages and 500 references, lists and denounces “numerous illegalities in the concession procedures for the exploration, research, development and production of oil and gas, in particular the Santola contract between the Portuguese State and the ENI-GALP consortium.”
The final drilling licence for the Use of Private Space (TUPEM No. 015/001/2017) was issued by the Directorate-General for Marine Resources, was granted without an environmental impact assessment and with only 10 days notice.
ASMAA says there are illegalities in the Santola contract, including substantial changes to the contract through illicit additions, tax fraud and gross management of surface rental income, no counterparts for the Portuguese State, gross negligence due to a lack of economic and environmental impact studies and no cost-benefit analysis.
Added to this is the absence of any measures to ensure the protection and security of public domain assets, and the deliberate avoidance of measures to protect the public’s constitutional rights - including the right to a clean environment, quality of life and public health.
The association, headed by the dynamic Laurinda Seabra, has asked for the whole exploration and drilling process to be suspended so that the overriding public interest is not irreparably damaged.
This coming Thursday, February 23, ASMAA has organised a demonstration in front of the Portugal’s parliament building starting at 1:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m. MPs will be debating the whole oil and gas business from 2:00pm.
This debate is a result of ASMAA’s petition of a year ago to stop the drilling halt off Aljezur which was signed by more than 42,000 signatories and which was ignored in the public consultation process, along with the questions raised by those opposing the development of Portugal’s onshore and offshore territories as oil and gas fields.