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Algarve councils unite against oil exploration

oilblocsalgarveThe councils of the Algarve have, as one, decided that oil exploration across the Algarve raises serious doubts and concerns in a region reliant on tourism.

AMAL, the Algarve mayors’ group, has decided to express to the government its "displeasure, serious doubts, concerns and enormous scepticism" about the handing out of oil and gas exploration rights in the region.

A position paper was issued today which outlined serious objections and stated AMAL will use all legal forms possible to stop the ongoing exploration processes, taking into account the possible serious consequences that a local oil industry would entail.

"The councils now are calling into question the impact oil exploration would have on the quality of life and the economy, especially in tourism in the region. "

AMAL will request meetings as a matter of urgency with the government bodies responsible for issuing the licenses and will express its disagreement while complaining of the "contempt" with which the Portuguese state has treated the Algarve and the Algarvians.

The Portfuel company, owned by local millionaire businessman Sousa Cintra, has had an exploration contract covering most of the Algarve's land mass since November 25, 2015, for oil exploration in the Aljezur and Tavira onshore blocs, where drilling can be carried out.

For AMAL, the signing of this contract "exceeds all limits of the permissible with regard to the right of access to information, clarification, public discussion and foremost to the respect that the Algarve deserves.”

In a statement signed by the President of AMAL, Jorge Botelho, who also is the mayor of Tavira, the Algarve council chiefs claim that, since 2005 they have been following the process for the possible exploration of oil and natural gas in the Algarve, "so are very attentive and particularly concerned about the secrecy surrounding this issue."

"The consistent lack of information available to municipalities, the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL) and the Algarve’s citizens from successive governments is unjustifiable and one of the deliberate omissions surrounding the whole process," reads the statement.

AMAL critical that this whole process has been carried out while ignoring the Algarve’s councils and the Algarve population.

This move has long been awaited by pressure groups such as ASMAA which has expressed concern that the Algarve's councils have been sleepwalking into a situation where oil and gas production will arrive in the region with no environmental impact assessment carried out, and with the consequent reliance on the oil companies involved themselves to arrange safety and environmental protection.

A secondary consideration has been the highly suspicious offshore exploration contracts where the agreed, immutable royalty rates kick in only after set up costs have been recovered and then represent possibly the lowest percentage ever agreed with any government in the history of oil extraction.

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+2 #1 Jeff Brown 2015-12-10 08:54
This is the Algarvian Municipal version of pushing closed an open stable door with the horse happily inside munching hay. Not remotely interested in leaving.

The explorers contracts and license applications will be for decades in the future. If time limited at all. Just because OPEC is today driving down the value of crude oil to shut down the shale oil producers does not mean that in 3 to 5 years time the value of crude has not swung back.

Its like the tipping of rubbish into quarries that can be proved to have existed years ago. Get the s**t in for the next x years, taking the money then cap it off.

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