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Government's oil exploration stance reiterated at BP conference

SeguroSanchesContinuing to blame the oil and gas exploration and extraction licenses on the last government, the Secretary of State for Energy is sticking to the agreed political mantra that the government ‘only wants to know what resources are out there.’

"It does not make sense that the country does not want to know its resources," said Jorge Seguro Sanches, talking to journalists at the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, in Lisbon.

"The country should want to know its resources and then, at the right time, make the decision whether to exploit them or not," said Sanches, adding that the Government is following strict legal guidelines covering the concessions holders and their plans to drill and extract oil and gas.

Sanches continues to avoid the fact that the licence granted to Galp-ENI is for exploration and extraction, preferring to focus on the concession holders who failed to follow the rules, were called to account by the anti-oil movement and lost their concessions.

Last week, the ‘Algarve Free of Petroleum’ anti-oil group (PALP) heard that the suspension of Galp-ENI’s planned drilling activity off the Alentejo, remained in force.

The court in Loulé will decide in late September whether or not the government’s pro-oil arguments are sufficiently coherent and persuasive to allow the project to go ahead.

Jorge Seguro Sanches also was quizzed on the Australis plan to drill for oil and gas onshore in Aljubarrota, Leiria, which is being challenged by the Batalha Council.

The drilling plans have been delayed by the Portuguese Environment Agency which pointed out that the recently submitted drilling license application failed to mark where exactly the company wanted to drill.

Sanches said of the Australis deal, “this was a contract that was signed by the previous Government a few days before leaving office," adding that the government was monitoring progress.

"The choice of this government is for energy transition, for more renewable, more solar and that is what we have authorised. Others are all situations that come from the past, but that we, complying with the law and with the contracts, must continue to respect them rigorously," said Sanches.