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Peniche anti-oil petition calls for cancellation of nine remaining contracts

oilrigtransportThe spiritual home of the anti oil movement is in the Algarve which, as the country’s biggest earning tourist area, has witnessed stiff and well organised opposition to the government approved concession contracts covering onshore and offshore exploration blocks affecting the region.

The government is cancelling the two existing onshore Algarve contracts, much to the annoyance of Portfuel’s Sousa Cintra, and is planning to cancel the offshore concessions held by the Repsol-Partex consortium.

The fights is not yet over in the south but had failed to gain momentum in the central and north of the country, despite some localised protests, until today when a 6,000 signature was delivered to parliament from the Peniche Free of Oil movement.

The petition demands to see an end to the concessions that grant oil and gas exploration and exploitation rights in the Peniche and Lusitanian Basins.

The good news from government, that it is to intervene in the Algarve exploration blocks, left nine further concession areas stretching "up the coast from Sagres to Oporto and two onshore in Batalha and Pombal," explained João Camargo, the environmental engineer coordinating the Peniche Free of Oil movement.

The maritime areas affected are signed away to Repsol, Kosmos, Galp and Partex and the land area is under a concession granted to Australis.

For the promoters of the petition, the natural resources and the main economic activities of regions depending on them, such as fishing, tourism, agriculture, hotels, restaurants, all are at risk.

The petition reminds parliament of the promise made by Prime Minister, António Costa, that "Portugal will be carbon neutral by 2050."

"Investing in fossil fuels at the present time is a clear contribution to the destruction of the climate system and the environmental catastrophe, and goes against Portugal's commitment to the goals set at the Paris Summit in 2015," the petition points out.

Contracts for the exploration and extraction of oil were signed one month before the last general election by an ougoing government keen to pursue an oil-based economy despite the world turning slowly towards alternative energy sources - which Portugal has in abundance.

As for the contract details, João Camargo is swift to point out the poor deal that was agreed, with the oil companies paying paltry royalty rates of between 0.1% and 7% should oil be found and pumped, but only after all exploration and development costs have been met.

"These are perfect contracts for the oil industry," argues the engineer, pointing out that any 'oil riches,' often referred to by pro-oil politicians and oil company executives, will be owned by the oil companies, not the State which could receive just a dribble of revenue while the companies grow fat.

The revenues that the concessionaires would pay the State are very low, the royalties are between 0.1% and 7% and the concession periods are for up to 60 years – all good for the oil companies but a poor deal for the Portuguese treasury.

The war is not won in the Algarve but the hope is that the significant progress made to date can be mirrored in the central and north of the country to allow Portugal truly to pursue its renewable energy programme without distraction.



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+1 #2 Chip 2016-12-24 10:22
One would have thought that a country with plentiful sunshine, Atlantic winds and record size waves would be developing those technologies rather than raping the planet.
+1 #1 Peter Booker 2016-12-24 09:29
The petition reminds parliament of the promise made by Prime Minister, António Costa, that "Portugal will be carbon neutral by 2050."

Costa goes down even further in my estimation. He will probably be dead by then, so we shall not be able remind him of this asinine assertion. The Portuguese government cannot even plan the sale of Novo Banco over three years, so how can they know the energy needs of Portugal 34 years ahead? He can have no idea even of the population size of the country in 2050.

He is typical of politicians in that much of what he says is what his audience wants to hear. But when his words are analysed, they can be shown to be nonsense.

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