An oil exploration project due to be carried out in the south of Portugal has been abandoned by companies involved. Environmental groups welcome the news and vow to continue fighting for the decarbonisation of their economy.

This article is a follow-up of a previous META article

After months of unexpected developments, the oil exploration project in Aljezur in the south of Portugal has been abandoned. GALP and ENI, the two companies involved in the project made the news public at beginning of November.

The oil exploration project was the focus of much media attention since 2015. Both NGOs and the local people were campaigning against the project.

A milestone in the campaign was reached in July, when a local Court halted the exploration project because of the risks it posed to the environment.

Now the project seems to be completely abandoned. According to the Portugal News, the consortium have halted their exploration because of the ongoing difficulties.

Marisa Batista, Marine Conservation officer at the Portugeuse environmental group LPN – Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, said:

“This setback from the companies was only possible due to the common effort of several NGOs and also individual citizens. In fact this is a small victory for the planet, in a moment where the conservation of marine environment is still far from being adequately addressed by our governments. We need the EU and national governments to seriously commit themselves to implementing regulation that supports the decarbonization of the economy and the good environmental status of our ecosystems”

The fight against oil exploration in Portugal is still ongoing. In a press release PALP, the coalition against drilling in the Algarve, highlighted the two urgent needs that they want to see addressed:

“(1) there should be a comprehensive review of environmental legislation in Portugal and, in particular, a strong Maritime Spatial Planning which allow protection of the marine environment from future threats, and (2) and the implementation of a National Strategy for Renewables in the medium/long term that goes beyond the electoral cycles, taking into account the international commitments that Portugal has taken in relation to decarbonisation and the remission of climate change that has affected and affects the country. “

Despite this victory, NGOs continue their work against oil exploration, currently 15 oil exploration projects are taking place in Portugal.