MPs resolution demands Australis is stripped of its oil exploration rights
Portugal’s parliament formally has recommended to the government executive that it suspends oil and gas exploration in the Alcobaça and Pombal concession areas, in accordance to a resolution just published in Diário da República.
In the official entry, MPs recommend that the executive, “makes every effort to cancel the exploration contracts for hydrocarbons in the Lusitanian Basin, in Alcobaça and Pombal, with the Australian company, Australis, Oil & Gas.”
The tiny energy company intends to start drilling this year in its two concession areas, one in the parish of Bajouca in Leiria, referring to as ‘Pombal’ and the second in Aljubarrota, Alcobaça, referred to as ‘Batalha.’
The ‘stop the drilling’ resolution was approved on December 21, 2018 after a 5,858 signature petition from the Peniche Free Petroleum Movement was discussed in Parliament – on top of the weight of three parliamentary initiatives aimed at suspending all of the oil exploration contracts in the country.
The signatories to the December 2016 cited, “very high environmental and socio-economic risks” and a lack of environmental impact studies, despite the proximity of the drilling area to the Berlengas nature reserve. Also, the negotiation and signing of contracts took place without any public consultation.
The cancellation of oil and gas exploration and extraction contracts in the Lusitanian Basin also was requested in two draft resolutions, one from the Left Bloc and another from the Green Party, plus a bill introduced by the PAN party’s lone MP, André Silva.
Last May, the Government announced that it would not allocate any new licenses for exploration of oil and gas in Portugal, “during this parliament” – a period which ends this autumn.
The government also stated that it would keep all the current contracts going as to back out of them, would leave it open to compensation payments – this is the situation that MPs want to see resolved.