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Loulé Court suspends Galp-ENI's Aljezur drilling licence

OilReferendumSMALLThe Loulé Administrative Court has issued a ruling today, suspending the Galp-ENI consortium’s TUPEM licence which now is invalid.

The 'Título de Utilização Privativa do Espaço Marítimo' licence was challenged by the anti-oil, Platform for an Algarve Free of Petroleum (PALP), which had asserted that the oil and gas drilling licence issued to Galp-ENI was invalid and that it should not be allowed to drill a test well in the ocean floor off Aljezur.

The Court has issued its preliminary ruling and, as a result, has suspended the TUPEM licence, apparently agreeing with PALP that it should never have been issued.

In addition, the Loulé Court told those involved in the search for oil and gas, not to proceed with any preparatory work and that there certainly must be no attempt to start drilling.

Galp-ENI managers had expected to be contract the 'Saipem 1200' drilling ship (see below) to start work this September.

PALP’s Ana Matias said to Sul Informação this morning the association had lodged the precautionary measure against the Ministry of the Sea and the Galp-ENI consortium, so as to halt the TUPEM licence which had authorised the test well hole to be drilled from September, despite environmental concerns and a 42,000 signature petition demanding the government's oil and gas programme is halted.

“We asked that all work be suspended until the sentence comes out, which was today. Fortunately, the judge ruled that the TUPEM license was wrongly assigned,” said Matias.

Laurinda Seabra from ASMAA, which has been campaigning to stop all oil and gas exploration and drilling along Portugal’s coastline and onshore, said of the suspension,

“It’s very good news, because it means that the drilling continues to be embargoed, but until when will the embargo be? - that is a question for which we do not have an answer at this stage.

“Once we have had access to the court decision we will be in a position to analyse it and get a better idea of what it means.”

Seabra warns that the drilling has not been stopped for good as the Court has only issued a suspension, not a full ban,

“So, we can’t relax now and think it’s all over, because it is not. It’s only suspended. A luta continua!

PALP received praise from fellow activist organisation, MALP (Movimento Algarve Livre de Petróleo),

"It is a huge defeat of the government of António Costa and against all those who wanted to go ahead with oil exploration in the Algarve. And it is a huge victory for the citizens who have remained firm in the fight against the exploration and extraction of oil from the Algarve. Now it is necessary to end these oil exploration contracts along the Costa Vicentina. Congratulations to the Algarve Free of Petroleum Platform. Tearing up these contracts 'in the public interest' is what we have to do now."

 As fo Galp-ENI's reaction, "The most expected is that they will appeal and we will now bring the main proceedings to court, which is expected to be filed next month," PALP's Manuel Vieira said, referring to the possibility the Galp/ENI consortium appealing against today's decision to cancel the license for the Aljezur test well.

This Court decision is bad news for the government whose oil company buddies had expected a smoother ride.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, visiting the Algarve last weekend, said of the region's total rejection of the State-imposed oil exploration and extraction programme, that he would go away and think about it.

 

OilDrillinBoat

Comments  

+3 #6 Ed 2018-08-14 09:52
Quoting TT:
On the face of it this looks like a David & Goliath fight, David currently with the upper hand.
But sadly the might of the oil producers will surely trump the valiant efforts of MALP /PALP at some point in the not too distant. The appeals will continue until a sympathetic judge is found.
Then there will be champagne all round in the GALP boardroom and government ministers will get the balance of their backhanders.
Meanwhile another pristine example of unspoilt nature will be lost forever, but that doesn't seem to matter to the "elected" few.
I agree. This is test of the independence of the judiciary which already has been treated to the PM's opinion on national TV where he said the drilling will go ahead despite the protests. If Galp-ENI now submits a new improved application for a license, the whole process starts again, the public consultation results again will be ignored, the environmental impact assessment will not be needed and another judge will have to issue an opinion.
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+5 #5 TT 2018-08-14 09:39
On the face of it this looks like a David & Goliath fight, David currently with the upper hand.
But sadly the might of the oil producers will surely trump the valiant efforts of MALP /PALP at some point in the not too distant. The appeals will continue until a sympathetic judge is found.
Then there will be champagne all round in the GALP boardroom and government ministers will get the balance of their backhanders.
Meanwhile another pritine example of unspoilt nature will be lost forever, but that doesn't seem to matter to the "elected" few.
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0 #4 Ed 2018-08-13 19:54
Quoting Jeff Brown:
Not as helpful to the anti-oil campaign as it seems at first sight. Anyone who has experienced the downside of Portuguese justice is well aware that it is not remotely independent and impartial and decisions are made on expediency. So, whatever issue concerns this judge, will be addressed by the oil lawyers and submitted to the next judge (to minimise corruption judges are rotated in and out of Tribunals every few months) The next judge will not be able to fully reopen the investigation (remember that these are investigative judges with theoretical 'holy cow' powers' allowing them to make their own investigation so do not need to rely on what lawyers and the prosecutor put in front of them) and so the next judge
only addresses the missing or incorrect paperwork. If it is a missing Environmental Impact Assessment expect one adapted from something used elsewhere, perhaps the EIA for a north European road junction and if sloppily cleaned up look for mentions of traffic lights or environmental road marking paint. But the big plus for the oil explorers is that it allows them to claim 2 judges have examined their project and it is 'tickety boo'.(old Peninsula War phrase)


tickety boo - possibly from an Indo-Aryan language: compare Hindi ठीक है, बाबू (ṭhīk hai, bābū, “it's all right, sir”).
The phrase could have been picked up by British personnel in India before independence and spread in modified form to the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
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+4 #3 Jeff Brown 2018-08-13 19:38
Not as helpful to the anti-oil campaign as it seems at first sight. Anyone who has experienced the downside of Portuguese justice is well aware that it is not remotely independent and impartial and decisions are made on expediency. So, whatever issue concerns this judge, will be addressed by the oil lawyers and submitted to the next judge (to minimise corruption judges are rotated in and out of Tribunals every few months) The next judge will not be able to fully reopen the investigation (remember that these are investigative judges with theoretical 'holy cow' powers' allowing them to make their own investigation so do not need to rely on what lawyers and the prosecutor put in front of them) and so the next judge
only addresses the missing or incorrect paperwork. If it is a missing Environmental Impact Assessment expect one adapted from something used elsewhere, perhaps the EIA for a north European road junction and if sloppily cleaned up look for mentions of traffic lights or environmental road marking paint. But the big plus for the oil explorers is that it allows them to claim 2 judges have examined their project and it is 'tickety boo'.(old Peninsula War phrase)
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+8 #2 Susana 2018-08-13 18:06
As aguas do Algarve pertencem ao povo Portugues e não exclusivamente ao governo Portugues
Se houver um terramoto vai levar anos em o governo reconstruir ou se houver um descuido nas aguas as pessoas e os hoteis perdem turismo por muito tempo
A vida das pessoas fica tudo estragado
Existe a opcão de adequir energia limpa por exemplo o sol - parabens Algarve

(The waters of the Algarve belong to the Portuguese people and not exclusively to the Portuguese government
If there is an earthquake it will take years for the government to rebuild or if there is an oil spill in the water tourists will avoid our hotels for a long time
People's lives get spoiled
There is the option to adapt clean energy, for example the sun - congratulations Algarve)
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+3 #1 Susana 2018-08-13 18:00
Parabens Algarve!
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