Oil exploration to begin

A CONSORTIUM of companies led by Galp Energia, Partex and Australia’s Hardman Resources are to invest 300 million euros off the Alentejo coast over the next eight years in search of crude oil.

Three contracts were signed on February 1 for oil exploration and geological research within Portuguese maritime waters. “Should the studies show further promise, then drilling could begin within the next four years,” said Miguel Barreto, the Director-General of Geology and Energy.

If oil is discovered then the Portuguese state would keep seven per cent in royalties from every barrel of crude produced, effectively solving many of the government’s pressing financial problems in terms of health, education, pensions and social security.

On February 2, the Director of Galp, Fernando Gomes said in a statement that in the first four years the consortium would invest around 26 million euros on evaluation studies.

Only after this phase would the companies take a decision to continue further research, including test drilling.

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