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Secrecy in oil exploration

MINISTER FOR the economy, Manuel Pinho, has been accused of being secretive and undemocratic in respect to the exploration of oil off the coast of the Algarve.

The president of the entity that represents the interests of the câmaras in the Algarve (AMAL), Macário Correia, said he was angry that the government’s plans were not being properly discussed.

In February, the government announced that the project to search for oil off the Algarve coast would go ahead as contracts with energy companies Repsol and RWE were close to being signed.


Correia’s opposition was initially documented after the public announcement by Pinho about plans for the project. Allegedly, Correia made over 20 phone calls to Pinho’s office, none of which were ever returned.

Correia released a statement last week that said he was “worried” and “displeased” with the minister’s attitude, adding that it went “against the grain of their good relationship”.

Algarve MP, Mendes Bota, believes the plans will mar the Algarve economy, which relies heavily on tourism. Pinho disregarded this view.

The consortium of German energy company, RWE (25 per cent share) and Repsol (75 per cent share) is currently extracting natural gas off the coast of Cadiz, Spain, and as similar geological characteristics were found in the Algarve, two oil platforms are planned for construction off the coast between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António (see March 9 edition of The Resident).

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