The Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, stood up and lied to parliament yesterday, March 14th, stating to amazed MPs that "Portugal has no oil exploration contracts."
The minister of the Sea either thinks that people will fall for her erroneous assurance that the drilling licence granted to Galp-ENI is a work of fiction or has failed to grasp part of her remit and imagines she is telling the truth: either way, anti-oil association ASMAA has called for her resignation.
The Movement for an Algarve Free of Oil (MALP) has demanded that the Minister of the Sea and the Minister of the Environment both resign, or be sacked.
MALP today called for the dismissal of Ana Paula Vitorino and João Matos Fernandes, for promoting oil exploration in Portugal "against the will of the people."
Portugal’s Minister for the Sea announced at a 2016 conference in the US that the first exploratory oil well will be drilled in Portugal in 2017.
Ana Paula Vitorino was at a conference in Washington last September when she made the announcement, shortly after the public consultation process in to oil drilling off Aljezur had started.
The Algarve’s two Social Democrat MPs, José Carlos Barros and Cristóvão Norte, have accused the government of "lack of transparency" in the process that has led to its approval of oil drilling off the Aljezur coastline in the western Algarve.
In January of this year, under a contract signed in February 2007, the concession for exploration, research, development and production of oil for the Santola area off Aljezur was approved.
The Algarve’s leading anti-oil and gas campaigning organisation, ASMAA, this morning presented a detailed legal action at the Attorney General's Office requesting an immediate halt to offshore oil and gas drilling in the Alentejo basin and for the immediate cancellation of the Galp-ENI licence for the Santola exploration block off Aljezur.
The organisation’s action, a full 126 pages and 500 references, lists and denounces “numerous illegalities in the concession procedures for the exploration, research, development and production of oil and gas, in particular the Santola contract between the Portuguese State and the ENI-GALP consortium.”
The Algarve mayors’ group, AMAL, today joined the unhappy throng and issued a statement reiterating, "its position against any oil or gas exploration activities in the Algarve and off the Algarve coastline."
Support for the drilling licence awarded to the Galp-ENI consortium on January 11th, which came to light only last Friday as the announcement had been cunningly concealed on a little-watched government website, is close to non-existent in the region.
The Algarve Free of Oil group, PALP, has called for an urgent meeting with the government to sort out the suituation surrounding the test well licence granted to the Galp-ENI oil consortium.
PALP learned of the licence, granted on January 11th and hidden away on a little-watched website, and joins other industry and environmental groups in calling for the government to explain what exactly it is playing at.
The Left Bloc leader, Catarina Martins, visited Olhão on Saturday and spoke about the shock decision by the government to authorise exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the sea off Aljezur.
Reiterating her statement made in parliament on Friday, Martins said that all the conditions exists to halt the drilling by the Galp-ENI Eni consortium.