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Environment Agency denies 'tacit approval' for Australis test drilling

AustralisLogoThe president of the Portuguese Environment Agency explained today that when the agency stated that it could not offer an opinion on the need for an environmental impact assessment at the Aljubarrota drilling site, this was as good as a "no."

Batalha Council was concerned that, when the agency offered no opinion on the environmental aspect of Australis Oil & Gas drilling proposal, this meant the company could go ahead.

"The interpretation by Batalha Council could not be further from the truth," said the APA president, Nuno Lacasta.

The APA’s opinion, released on June 5, was that, it did not have enough specific information from the Australian energy company for it to decide whether an environmental assessment was needed.

President of the local Council, Paulo Batista Santos, said this "non-decision" could be "a tacit approval” of the request for drilling.

Instead of scrapping the contract for non-compliance, Lacasta said today that the agency’s opinion, "does not represent a tacit agreement," adding that his agency has sent the company a letter informing it of an obligation to "submit a new request" with the "necessary information."

In a surprise move, pitched to gain the Australian company some social Brownie points, Lacasta stated that, "the company has expressed its intention to submit an environmental impact study," adding that drilling could only proceed, "if this assessment is positive."

The assessment will be paid for by the company and inevitable will put a positive spin on any subjective aspects, concentrate on employment in the area and emphasise its good safety record.

Lacastre again showed his true pro-oil and gas colours, by stating that, if the environmental impact assessment is not positive, "the project will have to be reformulated until it obtains a positive opinion."

Australis Oil & Gas aims to, "execute, in 2019, a vertical pilot survey with horizontal deviation, in order to test natural gas occurrences, in a certain portion in the ​​Batalha Concession.” The drilling will be of a “temporary and exploratory nature.”


See also: Environment Agency delays Australis onshore drilling plans



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