But doubts persist because of lack of clarity and transparency.
Were contracts really suspended or terminated?
What are Galp / ENI really saying with their comment? "That the work and contract has been temporarily suspended" or "that the contracts have been terminated and have in fact expired and are no more?"
In our opinion, once again we are involved in a game of cloak and daggers, where it appears that both the government and the concessionaries are just creating a smokescreen, while behind the scenes, and in a web of secrecy its just business as usual.
But as for us at ASMAA, the lack of clarity on the part of the government and the concessionaires indicates without any doubt to us that the only thing that is on the table is a play on words. What is becoming clear, is that it appears that there’s a concerted strategy in the part of government and the concessionaries to deceive and hoodwink the population as long as humanly possible.
The reality is that, to date, there is still nothing conclusive; we have no evidence that the contracts have in fact been cancelled or that they terminated, because to date the government and the concessionaires refuse to disclose the current legal status of the contracts.
Formalities? ... or more whitewashing?
When the government and the concessionaries state that the contracts were removed from the DGEG website as part of a “formality” and nothing more, we once again view that action as nothing more than another trick of illusionism and another attempt to hoodwink the populous.
Interestingly enough our opinion is confirmed when analysing a DGRM document that we have in our possession relating to their report in preparation for the PSOEM (Blue Economy) public consultation that closed as well on the 31 January 2019.
We read with interest that the fact that an oil exploration contract was not available on the ENMC website at the time, did not mean that an exploration contract was not valid, or in force, or in negotiation, as after all financial commitments such as ocean surface rentals were up to date and had been since 2007. (you can see an extract of that document below – in Portuguese)
Until ASMAA has proof that the three concession contracts for the areas Lavagante, Gamba and Santola have in fact been put to bed and are exctint, the fight continues to stop the drilling attempts. In the meanwhile, the Loulé court once again demanded clarity and confirmation by government. (You can read more about it here)