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“Race to drill for oil” has seen over a billion euros spent, without one drop brought to surface

With sources informing the Resident of a large cross-party group of MPs in Lisbon “fully supporting the anti-oil fight”, combustibles market entity ENMC has published an intriguing new report.

Interpreted as “a billion euros spent and not one drop of oil” by tabloid Correio da Manhã, it is not immediately clear why the ENMC has issued these statistics. Is it to help plead the oil companies’ case that ‘so much has already been spent, drilling must be allowed to go ahead”, or to pre-empt new stories about how many institutions throughout the world are now divesting of their oil interests and going green?

Bizarrely, as the ENMC report came out, local group Stop Petróleo Vila do Bispo sent out a jaunty little clip over Youtube showing UN secretary general António Guterres saying: “Green energy is the energy of the future. Those who should be worried are the ones who base their economies on oil exploration.

“I think it is clear today that countries that invest in environmentally sustainable technologies are the ones whose economies will be most dynamic in the future and offer greater prosperity for their citizens” (click here).

But back to the ENMC report: it takes a look over the last 80 years, in which it says 175 sites have been drilled at a cost of in today’s terms around one billion euros.

Just in the last 10 years, €152 million has been spent in the search for “black gold” while the State has raked in €8.6 million in taxes and rents from various concessionaries.

The report will now be discussed in parliament.

It’s bottom line is that despite all the brouhaha regarding oil exploration, up until now “there has not been one oil discovery with economic viability”.

Natural gas, however – which is thought to be every bit as sought after by the oil companies, and in plentiful supply both on and offshore in Portugal – is not mentioned.

Climate change activist and regular contributor to Público João Camargo says he believes the report is the start of an institutional effort to relieve oil companies from the requirements of any kind of environmental impact study before they launch into well-laid plans.

“They are going full-throttle to drill”, he said.

Only 10 days ago, reports suggested that Batalha borough council is adamant that environmental impact assessments that it has commissioned itself should be taken into account (click here).

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