Court confirms PALP and cancels drilling off Aljezur

ENI/GALP Consortium is unable to proceed with any work

The Loulé Administrative Court upheld the Algarve Livre de Petróleo Platform (PALP) and suspended the license (TUPEM) for the ENI/GALP consortium to drill a hydrocarbon prospecting hole off Aljezur.

In the decision published today, the Court granted the PALP's injunction and, as a result, suspended the "effectiveness of the act of issuing the TUPEM".

The Court also summons “counter-interested parties not to proceed with any work, whether preparatory to prospecting or its execution”.

Ana Matias, one of the PALP officials, explained to the Sul Informação that the platform “brought this injunction against the Ministry of the Sea and the ENI/GALP consortium to make the TUPEM [Security for the Private Use of Maritime Space] unfeasible, which allowed the borehole to be drilled, as of September, off the coast of Aljezur. In this action, filed last year, we asked that all work be suspended until the sentence is issued, which came out today. Fortunately, the judge decided that TUPEM was wrongly assigned».

According to Ana Matias, with this sentence, “what we are sure of is that, as long as there is no other decision, the ENI/Galp consortium cannot drill the hole. This was our frontline of the fight. Now we have to wait for the next developments. It is likely that companies will resort, but for now we have won this process and it has stopped».

Although the injunction, filed by PALP in 2017, had suspensive effects, a reasoned resolution by the Ministries of Maritime and Economy, invoking public interest, allowed that, "for some time, there was permission to have a hole", explains Ana Matias.

However, on July 3, after that reasoned resolution was challenged by the PALP, “the judge decided that there was no public interest, only contractual issues and the suspensive effect was again in effect. Now, the final decision came out», he concludes.

On Saturday night, the President of the Republic received, in audience, in Almancil, the PALP and the MALP, who presented their arguments against the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Algarve. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that he will now reflect on what was said at this meeting.