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Oil & Gas Exploration: Overview of Voting in Portuguese Parliament on 21 Dec 2018

On 21 December 2018, the Portuguese parliament voted on proposals submitted by three political parties – The Bloco de Esquerda (Left Block), PAN and the Greens. It is interesting to note that only the proposal by the Greens (PEV) was approved, with the other two rejected. Let’s now look at what was proposed in more detail.

Greens (PEV)

The Greens proposed that the government gave serious consideration to the cancellation of the concession contracts held by Australis Oil & Gas in the concession areas of Batalha and Pombal. This proposal was approved with votes from PSD, BE, PCP and PAN, plus 3 PS MPs, but voting against the proposal were the remaining MPs from PS and all the MPs from CDS.

Left Block (Bloco Esquerda)

The proposal by BE proposed a full suspension of all fossil fuels exploration work currently taking place across the country, as well as the cancellation of all onshore active contracts, namely the two concession contracts held by Australis Oil & Gas. No mention was made of the three active contracts held by the GALP/ENI consortium. This proposal was rejected by members of parliament from PS, PCP, CDS-PP, with PSD abstaining from voting. In favour voted BE, PAN and PEV (Greens).


The proposal by PAN, which recommended the cancellation of the Law of 109/94 of 26 April, and amendments to the Law of 88/90 of 16 March, with the following amendments proposed was rejected:

an end to the award of new concessions for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels; that all activities of geological exploration for scientific purpose be regulated; that the scientific exploration activities undertaken by (non-profit/educational institutions/scientific institutions) especially seismic survey activities be incorporated into the Ministry of Environment, and that its mandatory that the universities or other scientific institutions request approval of such an activity before undertaking such an activity; that a Scope of Work be submitted by these institutions in line with current environmental impact laws, including the need for public consultations requirements. That commercial entities, be excluded from this activity (Fossil fuels exploration). That it will be forbidden the exploration of fossil fuels in all the Portuguese territory.

This proposal by PAN, got favourable votes only from BE and PEV (Greens) with all other parties voting against it.


In Closing

Although there’s been victory cries over the approval of the Greens proposal, when read in context with the other two proposals rejected on the same day, it becomes clear that this victory is nothing more than a Smoke & Mirrors strategy to hoodwink the populous. Neither must we forget or loose track that we are in an election year, and many parties are already in pre-election campaigning.

Furthermore, it’s important to place all of above in the context that on 4 October 2018, Galp signed an agreement with the Algarve University (you can read about it here in Portuguese). Neither should we loose focus of all the agreements signed with most of the academic institutions and scientific research organisations in Portugal by the likes of the Gulbenkian Foundation (Partex), Government agencies, and other big players in the market. (Meaning that it is normal that whoever pays the pipper calls the tune!)

What is clear by all of above is that the government and most of its parties present haven’t any intention of stopping oil and gas exploration in Portugal either onshore or offshore. This allegation appears to be confirmed when one takes into account the heavily contested legal battle that ASMAA is involved in currently, and which we expect has seen a massive amount of taxpayers money being wasted in spurious legal arguments over and over.

The fight is far from over, in fact, we are of the opinion that the real fight is just beginning.



We invite you to take a minute and donate to assist our association to continue with our campaigns. We are a very small association staffed only by volunteers. ASMAA does not accept any money from government, political parties, foundations or from big business. We are funded mainly by small donations from members of the public. You can read more about our statement of independence by cliking here.


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ASMAA Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
IBAN: PT50 0018 0008 02686698020 51


Use References please

REF: Say NO to Oil (includes legal)
REF: ASMAA (General costs)




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