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Fracking on your doorstep: A very good reason for Expats to vote in Portugal municipal elections in 2017

As most of you are aware, in September 2015, the Portuguese government signed various onshore oil and gas exploration licences, with 2 licences having the misleading names of Aljezur and Tavira in the Algarve which were awarded to Sousa Cintra’s Portfuel but which in fact covers most of the Algarve inland areas (+- 90%), and another 2 to Australis Oil & Gas in the central north of Portugal with the contract names of Batalha and Pombal.

All the onshore licences are authorised to make use of the controversial drilling technology of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) or of other unconventional drilling techniques, although the ENMC (Entidade Nacional para o Mercado de Combustíveis) tries everything in its power to negate this factor, be it on their website or be it in the various meetings and interviews to the press.

But, if one is awake one has only to read the contracts, and note that fracking is indeed mentioned in more than one clause, and on top of that is the fact that the ENMC announces that not only is there a “Fracking Work Group” but also note that the ENMC has already published some guidelines on fracking on their site. Now, why would they do so, if fracking was not planned for Portugal?

In our opinion, they (ENMC) fail to convince these that are awake. Instead the ENMC should focus on cancelling all fossil fuel contracts and promote the greener technologies of wind, solar and wave/tidal.

But wait ... these are not the ONLY contracts awarded, let's not forget the offshore ones in the Algarve Basin with Repsol/Partex (Gulbenkian Foundation), nor the ones in the Alentejo Basin with Galp/ENI.

Now, this brings us to focus on why should you seriously consider registering to vote in the next municipal elections, which will take place in 2017.


AMAL: Is it ALL Just TALK?

It is a well "Publicised" fact that currently "ALL" the mayors in Algarve have indicated that they are against the threat of fracking in the Algarve and that they are prepared to take whatever steps and legal action is deemed necessary to stop the onshore exploration using fracking or any other type of unconventional drilling technologies.

Currently, though it’s still only a THREAT - as NO real legal steps have yet been taken by the mayors through their representative association body (AMAL) or in their individual municipal areas. So, in our opinion … it’s still JUST TALK currently - and if one is to take into account the way politics often works in Portugal, you may need to remind them on a regular basis of their promises and intentions.

Getting registered as a voter is a starting point ...

It has been said that Expats may make-up approximately 20% of the local residents in the Algarve, meaning that if Expats want to ensure that the local mayors do indeed act in the best interests of the local population - including looking after Expat interests - that political players including the mayors need to realise that Expats are indeed a force to be reckoned with, when the next elections take place in 2017.

... but very little is being said by the mayors and AMAL about the offshore contracts and what they intend doing about them.

As a result, we are of the opinion that it is important that Expats register now in their local Parishes (Freguesias), sign the petition supporting the local council mayor where they reside or have an investment interest. After all, Expats contribute to the local economy - many Expats have bought property – and many more have invested in local businesses, and you must be entitled to question your local representative. But you can really only do so, if you are a registered voter ... even if you have not voted before.


So, why should you now start thinking about registering to vote in the 2017 municipal elections?

Because the time has arrived for you to look after your own interests and to subtly let the local mayors know that when next elections come your vote may just be the vote that get them or their party elected.


So go and register to vote now – so you are ready when the time comes.

If you do not get control of your town and council representatives, you will have no protection against frackers (such as Sousa Cintra’s Portfuel for example) drilling wildcat wells in your own backyard. No protection from damaged roads. No way to prevent frackers from dumping fracking waste on your doorstep, or dumping radioactive toxic drill cuttings in local landfills, and so much more …


So get ready to vote in 2017, or be prepared to be fracked on land and at sea.

In the meantime, get involved, attend municipal monthly meetings, sign the petitions, write to your local mayor, counsellors, and local politicians. (Please copy us when you do)


 To find out how to register to vote and to see if you qualify click here



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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
    NIPC: 510 381 952
    Tel: 00 351 282 182 103
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    Rua Dr. Alberto Iria
    Lote 12, R/C Esq
    Porto de Môs
    Lagos 8600-580
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