Around 70 people turned up for the first public meeting of Algarve anti-oil group PALP held on Saturday afternoon (May 30) at the Faro Spot Café.
PALP representative João Eduardo Martins told Lusa news agency after the meeting that the atmosphere had been “very motivating”.
“People are very concerned about these issues,” he said, stressing the contract signed with the petrochemical industry was “one of the most discussed subjects”.
As Martins and many others before him have explained, oil exploration along the coast is unlikely to bring “clear benefits” to the Algarve, as “profits will go to private companies while the risks go to the public”.
Risks include the potentially “disastrous” consequences if an earthquake strikes during drilling, Martins explained.
As we are all aware mini quakes along the coast occur almost every day (see http://www.ipma.pt/en/geofisica/sismologia/).
Thus the group is launching a new anti-oil petition which it hopes will put the issue firmly back into the public eye.
To qualify for discussion in parliament, the petition will require at least 4,000 signatures.
PALP – created last March to “defend the Algarve as a sustainable region and oppose local oil exploration” – is made up of citizens groups and NGOs, including Glocal-Faro, Movimento Algarve Livre de Petróleo, Quercus, Almargem, SPEA, Peace and Art Society and News Loop.
Meantime, it is still uncertain when, or indeed if, oil exploration will take place along Portugal’s coastline.
Oil giant Partex said recently that it all depends on whether ‘large enough’ oil and/or gas deposits are found (see story ‘Oil giant hedges bets over striking “black gold” in Portugal’ at portugalresident.com).