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Posted by portugalpress on August 13, 2018

Just a month before drilling ship Saipem 12000 was due to start work off Aljezur’s ‘protected coastline’, Loulé judges have delivered the bombshell Algarvians the length and breadth of the region have been praying for.

Oil concession companies GALP and ENI must desist from all work and plans until a case brought by anti-oil platform PALP is heard in court.

The decision, released on Monday, means that nothing can move forwards - and as we were informed by a reliable source recently, lawyers for the oil companies have intimated that if further blocks came on this controversial project, they may “just give up and drill for oil elsewhere”.

This is the hope on campaigners’ minds as the official wording coming out of Loulé’s administrative court is that PALP’s injunction has been granted, and the drilling licence (known as TUPEM) giving GALP and ENI the go-ahead from September 15 is now suspended.

Further details of the court’s ruling will emerge but the news is being seen as a major victory for the anti-oil lobby which heard over the weekend that President Marcelo is loathe to intervene on its behalf before a government that has not been listening to a nation of objections.

Surprisingly, 24-hours after the news hit local and then national headlines, there had been no reaction whatsoever from the government.

Reactions in the Algarve and from activists leading this fight have been suitably upbeat, but tempered always by caution.

This is by no means the end of the road: irrespective of whether the ‘other side’ appeals, there is always the possibility that the government can go ahead and issue new licenses, award new contracts.

Until the ‘carve-up’ of onshore and offshore territory into concessions is reversed, the threat of oil and gas exploration persists – and all involved in this fight are fully aware of that.

Thus next month, on September 8, days before the date that should have seen the start of drilling, there will be new protests in Faro, to coincide with 2018’s World Climate March.

Meantime, ENI’s drillship Saipem 12000 remains docked in the Canary Islands, ostensibly waiting for the all-clear to enter Portuguese territorial waters.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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