PALP says that ENI/Galp's withdrawal is a «victory for the Algarve», but warns for the future

The association of “Terras do Infante” municipalities also welcomes the “good and sensible decision” of the consortium

ENI/GALP's withdrawal from proceeding with oil exploration off Aljezur it is "a victory for the Algarve", according to the Algarve Livre de Petróleo Platform, but warns the group that "it is still necessary to analyze the legal implications" of this decision by the consortium.

In a statement sent to the newsrooms, the PALP recalls that "it has been fighting, since its creation, for a transparent debate and for the defense of the Algarve against oil exploration and exploration."

The platform recalls that after the Administrative and Fiscal Court of Loulé gave reason, in August, to the injunction filed by the PALP, to suspend the TUPEM (Title for Use of Maritime Space), «the Ministry of the Sea and the Directorate- Natural Resources, Security and Maritime Services (DGRM) and ENI and Galp appealed against this decision».

PALP welcomes the withdrawal of ENI/GALP, but says it is "at this moment analyzing the legal implications of the statements by ENI and Galp, and hopes to know soon the Government's position on this matter (both political and judicial)" , like the Sul Informação it had already advanced.

Despite the withdrawal of the ENI/GALP consortium, PALP recalls and «expresses its attention and concern for the contracts signed between the Portuguese State and Australis Oil & Gas, which are still in force in Aljubarrota. It is important to remember that this company intends to start drilling on land as early as 2019 and that, similarly to what has happened in the Algarve, municipalities, associations and residents have been strongly against».

PALP also recalls that «Decree-Law No. 109/94 of 26 April is still in force. This Decree-Law is a whole, which is centered on one and only one clear objective, concretized in its entirety: “give a new impulse to oil prospecting and research activities and, consequently, to development and production”» .

According to the platform, «this Decree-Law created and will maintain – until the moment of its retraction – “more favorable access conditions, simplifying administrative procedures and establishing clear rules for its exercise in a manner adjusted to the reality and practice of the oil industry”. As long as this legal framework persists, new concessions may always arise, either with the current Government or with the following ones».

The PALP also draws attention to the "urgent" need for "a general review of environmental legislation and specifically a strong Maritime Spatial Planning Plan that foresees this type of situation and protects the marine environment from future threats" and also the importance of the «development and implementation of a National Strategy for Renewables in the medium/long term that temporally surpasses the cycles
elections, taking into account the international commitments that Portugal assumed with regard to decarbonization and the remission of climate change that so affected and will affect the country».

PALP also guarantees, despite this “victory” that it will continue with “the court process and fight for the repeal of this Decree, which is at the base of the 15 contracts that were in force when the various associations joined to form the PALP”.

Also the Association of Municipalities Terras do Infante, which includes Aljezur, Lagos and Vila do Bispo, yesterday took a public position on the withdrawal of the ENI/Galp consortium. Like José Gonçalves, mayor of Aljezur´, I had already told our newspaper, with this news, the municipalities consider that the Southwest Alentejo, the Costa Vicentina and the whole of the Algarve, are once again gaining social peace, normality and tranquility with regard to this matter, which has been so shaken».

Terras do Infante emphasizes, even so, that «it was an initiative of the consortium in question and not a Government initiative, as was imposed and which we have always defended».

For the association of municipalities, this is "a good and sensible decision that we are pleased with, but one that contains in itself a "proof of life and vitality" of a region that has united around a cause to say no."

Aljezur, Vila do Bispo and Lagos also consider that “for the current government and for the future, it is also a learning factor for future memory. The will of a State cannot be imposed on the will of a region, ignoring legal, environmental and scientific foundations, but above all the legitimate will of its populations».

For this reason, the municipalities register “with great satisfaction” that the Minister of Environment has already said “that no new exploration or prospecting of hydrocarbons will be licensed”.

Terras do Infante also congratulates «all those who committed themselves and never gave up on this struggle» and leaves «a particular word of thanks to all platforms, associations, informal groups, civil society, businessmen, mayors, among many others who they always believed that such an outcome would be possible».