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10 November 2018
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Oil drilling injunction approved

in Algarve · 05-07-2018 14:11:00 · 0 Comments

An injunction filed against oil drilling off the south-western coast of the Algarve has been approved by a Loulé court.

Oil drilling injunction approved

According to media reports, the ruling was made last week in favour of an association known as PALP or the Oil-Free Algarve Platform, which was created to see the Algarve free of fossil fuels.
The ruling means that the GALP, ENI consortium, which is planning to start oil prospecting this autumn, will now have to down their drilling tools.
This comes after the Portuguese Environment Agency ruled that an environmental impact study was not necessary before drilling could go ahead off the Algarve coast.
In a statement, PALP said that the Loulé Administrative and Fiscal Tribunal upheld its submission on 24 May against the joint resolution issued by the central government’s Ministries of the Sea and of the Economy that was aimed at rendering the injunction without effect.
The platform, which brings together individual citizens and associations, cited a ruling by the Loulé court, dated 29 June, to the effect that the ministries’ arguments were based on “economic and contractual ... interests”, which, according to PALP, confirm “the ineffectiveness of the acts of execution that the ENI/Galp consortium [with the licence to prospect] has carried out in the meantime”.
At the end of May, after the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) ruled that an environmental impact study was not necessary before prospection for oil and gas could go ahead off the Algarve coast, PALP made a submission contesting the two ministries’ resolution, which had cited the public interest as the grounds for pressing ahead with the project despite the original injunction.
Back in May, political parties, interest groups and society in general reacted with incredulity and dismay after high-ranking government officials joined to inform the country that oil prospecting off the coast of south-western Portugal would commence in September. The news was made official following a decision by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) that there was no need for an environmental impact study to ascertain any adverse effects resulting from drilling off the Algarve coast.
In a statement issued on previously, MPs representing the Algarve branch of the Socialist party, said the APA had become “useless, even an obstacle, when it comes to forming policies relating to environmental issues in Portugal. They act against recommendations made by lawmakers in Parliament and in contradiction to the opinion of associations and organisations who defend environmental causes.”
The verdict to go ahead with drilling along the Alentejo basin unopposed came after the APA President Nuno Lancasta announced that “no significant negative impacts were identified” in the proposed drilling set to commence in September at a location 46 kilometres from Aljezur.
The Government, in making the APA’s decision known, said through Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva that no further licences will be granted for future oil prospection during the current legislative period, which ends next year.
However, the Minister added that the Government will honour the existing licence agreements and their respective contractual obligations for the sake of commercial stability.

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Edition 1500
10 November 2018
Edition: 1500

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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