Sequeira was just days away from handing over leadership of DGRM to his successor José Simões.
The licence he signed is valid until 10 January 2019. It gives the ENI/Galp consortium the right to drill one well in the deep offshore of the Alentejo Basin at any time it likes, subject to a 10-day notice of intent.
This is too much like history repeating itself. An authorisation signed just before a new person is due to take office sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Reminds us of the signing of contracts a few days before legislative elections...
But this decision cannot have been taken without the knowledge of Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino - and this explains why neither Vitorino nor DGRM have made any efforts to respond to requests for information on the petition submitted by ASMAA opposing the granting of this licence, and which has yet to come up for debate in parliament.
What today's dismal news shows is a total lack of respect from our government for the 42,000 people who have shown themselves against this licence being granted.
Today's news just reinforces our view that the public consultation process has been a farce from start to finish.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the terms and conditions of the granting of this licence the following special authorisations are also cause for great concern: The GALP/ENI consortium is exempt from paying typical TUPEM licence fees, it is also exempt from paying any security deposit as well, as being exempt from providing proof of Civil Responsibility insurance.
That last part I really had to read several times, to make sure I understood the mismanagement at work here.
This is really BAD NEWS!
Not only did the government ignore the wishes of the resident population, visitors, tourists and investors to the region, they have with a sweep of a pen granted the rights to any area under Portuguese government control to any oil company that might want to drill in the future. They have in fact put all of us at risk - our environment, our sustainability, our health, our water, our air, our current industries ... as well as that of all future generations.
This is real shock and disillusionment.
For years, we have been urging the Portuguese government to stop all offshore and onshore drilling for oil and gas, we have been asking the government to focus its energies on becoming a leading European country with renewables instead.
At first glance it appears that “WE the PEOPLE” have got a very bad deal from the Portuguese government!
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We have to remain committed and firm in our opposition in the face of what appears to be gross civil negligence of the government’s duty to the nation. We need to be extra vigilant so as to protect all our coastal communities, because without the right efforts and prompting, the government has shown that it won't be doing this for us.
At the same time we need to make our voice heard so that both the government and the oil companies know that when we say NO to oil drilling we do indeed mean NO! Not ONE Well! Not NOW … Not in the FUTURE! Nem UM Furo! Nem Agora ... Nem No FUTURO!
We the people WILL use all the legal means at our disposal to let our so-called public representatives know in no uncertain terms that we mean business, and that NO, really means NO!
Note: You can download a copy of the official licence in the attachment section below (In Portuguese)