In possibly the best news yet for the Algarve’s anti-oil campaign, national tabloid Correio da Manhã has revealed that the government wants to rescind the massive onshore prospection contract that covers 14 of the 16 regional boroughs, from Aljezur in the west to Tavira in the east.
The reason is that Portfuel – the company owned by millionaire Sousa Cintra – has not delivered vital paperwork, including an adequate insurance policy.
This is the official reason anyway – as elsewhere GNR police are investigating “strange goings on” at a drill site in Rogil (click here).
Sousa Cintra was coincidentally in the news this week, for lamenting what he dubbed the “defamatory and injurious voices” speaking out against oil exploration.
According to CM, the government is “accompanying endeavours of fuel entity ENMC” which is in touch with Portfuel “because it has not presented a guarantee or insurance policy as per the contract” signed with the outgoing government a week before the last elections.
“Eventual rescission of the contract could be based on non-compliance of article 11 of the law, 109/94, that states that candidate firms have to present technical and financial reports for the last three years of activity”, explains CM.
“Portfuel was set up in March of 2013 and presented its candidacy for the Aljezur and Tavira concessions in November of 2014”.
But at the time contracts were signed, the then environment minister Jorge Moreira da Silva, went on record to say: “Portfuel fulfills all the requirements of good repute.”
A source for the many groups now set up to fight any form of oil and gas exploration throughout the Algarve said today’s news – which came in a CM ‘exclusive’ – was “just what we were hoping for. All we could add is that there are rumours that Sousa Cintra has been fined a few times since he started drilling in the Rogil area for breaching environmental legislation requirements”.