Neptune would probably not be happy with what is being planned 40 kilometres off the coast of Faro. Portuguese media are reporting that despite every Mayor in the Algarve being against offshore oil exploration, drilling for gas may start in October 2016.
Antonio Costa Silva, president of the Executive Committee of the Partex Group, said there will be no oil platform in front of the beach. Everything will happen on the seafloor. It is not clear what that means. When gas was drilled off Scotland in the North Sea, was it on a earthquake fault line? The Algarve is on such a fault line.
What is the motivation to continue to put at risk tourism and this beautiful region? In an interview with RTP and Antenna, Antonio Costa Silva said on18 April 2016, that because his company will benefit from drilling for gas – that this is wealth creation.
There has been no public consultation or debate. There have been protests. In November 2015, Transition Tavira drew attention to the threat to tourism if the Algarve becomes a business playground for oil and gas interests. One of many peaceful demonstrations across the Algarve was held in Tavira with the support of the local Mayor Jorge Botelho.
Information about next steps at a national and local level has been patchy.
I did a quick and dirty search for fracking and earthquakes and came up with this report. At the end of March 2016, USA Today publicised the “first-ever report made public from the U.S. Geological Survey, which cites the oil and gas drilling process as triggering quakes.” The report states “Human activities, such as wastewater disposal from drilling for oil and gas can cause earthquakes.”
Lets hope AMAL (The Association for Mayors in the Algarve) not only work to stop oil exploration but also challenge and put a stop to offshore gas exploration, with the support of the Environmental Agency and the Portuguese Government.
ASMAA Algarve has a map outlining possible exploration and contracts