Portugal's Ecology Party, 'The Greens,' today launched an awareness campaign in the Algarve all about oil and gas exploration, which is, according to the party "counter-cyclical" with international environmental policies for reducing emissions and pollution.
The launch was in Aljezur with a later press conference in Tavira, the two Algarve municipalities where onshore licenses have been granted to Portfuel for natural gas and oil exploration.
Joaquim Correia, the Greens national director, stressed the need to "change the paradigm" for energy and "invest in renewables."
Correia regretted that the Portuguese State had decided to authorise natural gas and oil exploration on land and at sea, "in contradiction" with the goals signed by the Government at the last UN climate change summit in Paris - cop21.
"We think that with the signature of the Portuguese Government cop21, it makes no sense to have begun to explore for and eventual extract oil in the Algarve. In 2015, Portugal was one of the countries that increased carbon emissions and therefore has to change the paradigm and turn to renewable energy. We think this will be the future and to achieve the goals of cop21 that the Government signed," commented Correia.
The leader said that "hydrocarbon exploitation goes against everything that the Portuguese economy needs, which is to be decarbonised" and warned that the Algarve’s economic activity is in tourism or in the fisheries sector.
Joaquim Correia also criticized the "lack of transparency" of the exploration contracts which have been signed for the Algarve and recalled that those responsible for the sector "have admitted the possibility of the contract with Portfuel in Aljezur being anulled "
"We are waiting for the government as a good watchdog, to annul the contract. The others, if there is any chance they start drilling boreholes, should be subject to environmental impact studies and then their contracts can also be cancelled," he added, with hope far ahead of experience.
The lack of these impact studies has been criticised by political parties, elected officials, PALP, ASMAA and other environmental associations which have called for the end to the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Algarve. Now the Greens have joined in, albeit rather late in the day.
Joaquim Correia said that it is a nonsense that no environmental impact assessments were done before the contracts were signed and added that his party, after this public awareness campaign, "will decide what actions to take at the political and parliamentary level to end exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Algarve."
Regarding the offshore drilling staring on July 1st, 2016 there is a 'public consultation' running between 31 May and 22 June with individuals invited to email the Mineral Resources Authority on
The advice document from DGRM helpfully advises anyone wishing for more information to get in touch via post to Avenida Brasilia, 1449-030, Lisbon, or by telephone on 213 025 193.
Because of the obvious weaknesses in a public consultation that only allows people to write in or phone up, anti-oil group ASMAA has set up an urgent Public Petition which readers with Fiscal Numbers are invited to fill in and hit ‘send’
For those without a Fiscal Number, hit this link to add your opinion:
If enough people sign the official Public Petition, there may be a suspension of the July 1st drilling off the Alentejo shore while parliament has to set aside time to debate the oil and gas issue.