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MinisterSeaVitorinoThe Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, stood up and lied to parliament yesterday, March 14th, stating to amazed MPs that "Portugal has no oil exploration contracts."
 
The minister of the Sea either thinks that people will fall for her erroneous assurance that the drilling licence granted to Galp-ENI is a work of fiction or has failed to grasp part of her remit and imagines she is telling the truth: either way, anti-oil association ASMAA has called for her resignation.

oilgungeThe Algarve’s two Social Democrat MPs, José Carlos Barros and Cristóvão Norte, have accused the government of "lack of transparency" in the process that has led to its approval of oil drilling off the Aljezur coastline in the western Algarve.

In January of this year, under a contract signed in February 2007, the concession for exploration, research, development and production of oil for the Santola area off Aljezur was approved.

asmaaNemUmFuroAs around 400 anti-oil protestors gathered in front of parliament today, representatives from AMAL, the Algarve mayors group, were being engaged in a discussion with a committee of MPs that focused on the 42,000 signatures collected in opposition to oil and gas exploration off the Algarve and Alentejo coastlines – and why these members of the public simply had been ignored.

José Amarelinho, the powerhouse anti-oil mayor of Aljezur, asked the assembled MPs to once-and-for-all force the government to end the oil exploration and drilling contracts as the whole process has been covered in secrecy and sneakiness and turning the seas into an oil producing zone at some point will cause pollution on the region’s beaches and will damage the tourism economy - a risk not worth taking.

OilReferendumSMALL

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.”

oilgungeThe Algarve mayors’ group, AMAL, today joined the unhappy throng and issued a statement reiterating, "its position against any oil or gas exploration activities in the Algarve and off the Algarve coastline."

Support for the drilling licence awarded to the Galp-ENI consortium on January 11th, which came to light only last Friday as the announcement had been cunningly concealed on a little-watched government website, is close to non-existent in the region.

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.