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oilgungeA group made up of 70 of Portugal’s top scientists have demanded the end of government approved oil and gas exploration and drilling, currently licensed in blocs from the Algarve to Oporto.

"We have seen that it is necessary to cease all existing contracts and refuse new licences in order to avoid irreparable damage to the economy, the environment and to communities," the scientists say in an open letter.

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.

oilrigThe Movement for an Algarve Free of Oil (MALP) has demanded that the Minister of the Sea and the Minister of the Environment both resign, or be sacked.

MALP today called for the dismissal of Ana Paula Vitorino and João Matos Fernandes, for promoting oil exploration in Portugal "against the will of the people."

oceanPortugal’s Minister for the Sea announced at a 2016 conference in the US that the first exploratory oil well will be drilled in Portugal in 2017.

Ana Paula Vitorino was at a conference in Washington last September when she made the announcement, shortly after the public consultation process in to oil drilling off Aljezur had started.

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.