British company says there is oil in Portugal - but won’t say where!

British company says there is oil in Portugal – but won’t say where!

It is a new mystery that has sent conspiracy theorists racing for their drums. A British company is reported to have located six oil and gas reserves off the coast of Portugal “expected to contain at least one billion barrels of oil and 30% more natural gas”.

The value of the find is “equivalent to more than €43 billion” taking the price of crude at its current knockdown rate, says the company.

But IONIQ Resources (sic) is playing its cards very close to its chest.

It has refused to reveal where exactly these apparently easily accessible reserves are, and it will only do so if the Portuguese government agrees to its terms.

These involve the payment of €8.2 million for the studies elaborated via “innovative technology” powered by satellite.

In other words, IONIQ Resources has not even had to set foot on Portuguese soil, or set sail across its waters, to “strike oil”.

Sábado’s story gets even wilder. Meetings have apparently already gone ahead with both the prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy – but “the government did not come to evaluate the credibility of the studies as IONIQ Resources did not initiate any kind of licensing proceedings as a result of them”.

Damon Walker, described as IONIQ’s administrator for Portugal, is presented as being put out by the government’s lack of excitement. “This (deal) is worth billions and they haven’t even had the courtesy to respond to us,” he is quoted as having told Sábado.

But as the paper goes on to explain, IONIQ Resources is not an easy firm to look into. “It is all secret,” said the article written by Vitor Matos. “Research over the internet does not throw up any information on the activities of IONIQ Resources.”

The company “doesn’t undertake fuel exploration: it defines itself as a “technological” company and, in the document it sent the government, it classifies its technology as “disruptive” for the oil industry.

As far as Matos has discovered, specialists in the industry warn there are many “new technologies” being rolled out these days, but they “don’t understand how this kind of data could be gathered via satellite, and they do not give credibility to a company that they have never heard of”.

Could it be a scam, or just a bizarre red herring to fill column inches?

The Resident has written to IONIQ Capital Partners Ltd – described as the owning company of IONIQ Resources, and we will see what comes back.

IONIQ Capital Partners has a smart website and business address listed as being in London’s St James’s.

Its CEO Marc Ingram declares in the site’s “About Us” section that the company’s goal is “to close deals”.

Readers comments on the story after it was published in Sábado throw up a number of anomalies however, including the fact that one of IONIQ’s senior management team does not appear to be the UK Chartered Surveyor that the website says he is.

Even more bizarre, one of IONIQ’s Portuguese representatives is described as being a former colleague of Portugal’s prime minister Passos Coelho.

Sábado’s story is being repeated on websites in both Portuguese and English, and concludes that the proposal put to the government would involve it having to change legislation.

“The Environmental Ministry alleges that there is no legal framework for IONIQ’s proposal”, the paper explains. “What the State does is licence concessions for oil research and prospection, and stay on the outside. What this company is proposing would involve a change in legislation. IONIQ is not saying where it thinks the hydrocarbons are without a deal, and it wants a partnership (arrangement) with the Government.”

The British company maintains it is “more advantageous” for the country for deals like these to be associated with the State, and not oil companies – to which IONIQ has no intention of revealing its technology, affirms Sábado.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]