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oilgungeDespite the Algarve’s mayors’ group AMAL declaring its opposition to oil and gas exploration and drilling, on and offshore along the Algarve’s coastline, few have been brave enough to respond to one simple 'yes or no' question put to them by environmental groups – for or against?

At a time when the anti-oil and gas question should be a key issue in the local elections, the subject is being swept deftly under various council carpets by most candidates, keen to follow party lines on ‘the economy of the sea,’ a wide-ranging subject that generally is positive but which is being used to disguise oil and gas exploration, and sub-sea mining for minerals.

BeachMalhaoThe law that introduces mandatory 'prior consultation' with councils, in any municipal area covered by an oil exploration and extraction concession, was published today in Diário da República.

The document was signed off by President Marcelo de Sousa and now that it has been published, officially is in force.

octopus2The mayor of Aljezur is calling it a victory against oil exploration, claiming that Thursday, August 3rd, was "a particularly happy day" because Portugal’s president has signed the new law that provides for local councils to be 'consulted in the administrative procedures concerning oil exploration.'

Mayor José Amarelinho believes that this decision is "another victory" for all those who oppose the proposed oil and gas industry in the Algarve region. In his optimistic opinion, despite local mayors’ views not being binding, Amarelinho believes that a negative local opinion "will not be overruled by any Government."

oilrigtransportGalp Energia has decided not to continue with surveys or test drilling in three of its concession areas in the Peniche basin and has recorded a €22 million loss in its half-year accounts for the costs incurred.

The reason for pulling out, according to chief executive Carlos Gomes da Silva, is that the geological surveys "are not encouraging."

oilrigThe Algarve Free of Oil Platform, PALP, announced today that its court injunction to halt the drilling for oil off Aljezur has been accepted as valid by the Administrative and Fiscal Tribunal of Loulé.

The preliminary injunction was filed by PALP in an attempt to stop the drilling in the sea off the Natural Park of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.

OilReferendumSMALLA study by the respected economist, Ricardo Paes Mamede, shows that the current oil and gas exploration concession so far have yielded "derisory amounts' for the taxpayer and have little chance of producing the sort of wealth the government keeps banging on about.

At a presentation today in Lisbon, Ricardo Paes Mamede said that anyone who still thinks that Portugal can become a country like Norway through the exploitation of oil in the Alentejo or the Algarve “has unrealistic expectations.” With the current concession contracts, extracting oil off the coast would have "a marginal impact on the public accounts."

11426Portugal’s reputation as an oil producer has, so far, been limited to the tasty green stuff you pour over salads and sardines. That could be about to change, writes Paul Ames for politico.eu

The country may be sitting on untapped reserves of petroleum and natural gas, some onshore but most beneath its extensive territorial waters. There’s no commercial production yet but test wells indicate there’s oil down there, perhaps plenty of it.

galpLogoCoinciding with yesterday's (carefully planted) announcement in Correio da Mahnã that Portugal’s Galp Energia had suspended its oil exploration ambitions off the Costa Vicentina, (Click here) the company’s Lisbon headquarters has been invaded by fish, crabs and molluscs.

Activists from the EZLN, (Zoological Army for the Freedom of Nature), dressed in suitably maritime costumes, invaded the oil company’s office in protest against the exploration for oil and gas off Portugal’s coastline.