Delight as natural gas fields of Batalha and Pombal finally ‘ditched’ 

Eco-association Zero is calling it “a great environmental victory”. The last remaining contracts in place for the drilling of fossil fuels on Portuguese mainland have purportedly been ‘ditched’.

In a statement released yesterday, Zero refers to “a decision communicated by the DGEG (general directorate of energy and geology)” last month, which will come into effect at the end of September.

What it boils down to is the ‘pulling out’ of Australis Oil & Gas from concessions involving a massive area stretching from Leiria to beyond Figueira da Foz which the company viewed as a “significant gas resource”.

Zero, Portugal’s oldest environmental group Quercus and many others, as well as local people, were all dead-set against the plans, but as they formed part of a government strategy at the time, it was an uphill struggle.

Opposition, nonetheless, threw up as many obstacles as could be found – while the lobby for renewable energies versus fossil fuels gathered momentum.

The rest, as they say, is history – and now so are the last remaining drilling concessions for fossil fuels in Portugal.

Quercus had been demanding a formal announcement to this effect since last November (click here).

So far there has been no official confirmation from Australis Oil & Gas, but this hasn’t stopped local people in the areas affected from celebrating.

Said one over Facebook: “The people have won! Congratulations to all those who tried to overthrow these polluters and destroyers of our homes.  Long live our little corner without pollution!”

Portugal’s strategy to drill and produce fossil fuels ‘began’ in the dying days of the last PSD government and was initially ‘carried forwards’ by PS Socialists who only finally conceded defeat in December last year (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com