We have been warning all of you about the fact that the entire Algarve is at risk of being turned into a massive deep offshore oil and gas exploration field from as early as 2015. Few people believed that this would go ahead.
Today we received news that ENI (Italian) has taken a 70% share block in the consortium for the Alentejo basin exploration, with Galp retaining 30%.
In the past two years we have been focusing on the Algarve Basin although we had spoken about the risk of the development of the Alentejo basin as well every time we had a chance. What we had predicted has now come to pass.
Typically December has always been known as the month to get things done without too much scrutiny from the public and interested bodies, and the closer you can get to Christmas the better it is for sneaking anything through as the majority of the people are deeply involved with festivity preparations or travelling. And Portugal is a master at using this international strategy.
Galp and ENI signed a contract today in Belem in the presence of the Minister for Environment and Energy Jorge Moreira da Silva.
To say that I am a bit surprised by the joint portfolio of this minister – looking after the environment and energy concurrently? – is the understatement of the century. No guesses where his loyalty and focus are. Guess conflicts of interests are not something that really concerns this minister.
This new development means that our government is really playing games with the people of the Algarve. Not only will we have to deal with Repsol/Partex on the Eastern coast, concurrently it appears that we will now also have to face the same challenges in the Western coast. This spreading our resources even more thinly than before.
And the argument that the oil price is too low to justify its development is hogwash – Ask yourself, why would they sign this contract if that was the case? Don’t be fooled, because there are too many interests at play.
The question that nobody is answering is what the real benefit is for the people of the Algarve or even for Portugal? Can anyone enlighten us please?
But in the meantime, keep on worrying about which sports team is better and winning, or what is happening in the soaps on TV. After all that is much more important and entertaining.