Oil and gas exploration on Southern coast trigger opposition among local population, small entrepreneurs whose income depends on tourism and small business. The government seems deaf to their claims but can't ignore the anti-extraction coalition
Several companies are currently planning to explore for gas and oil in the Algarve, either onshore and offshore (Gulf of Algarve and Gulf of Alentejo). Several contracts to explore, drill and produce petroleum were already granted.
All the companies are currently in the exploration phase, 2D seismic surveys offshore were already done and 3D seismic surveys in several areas, some companies are now preparing the firsts perforations.
The biggest movement in opposition to these projects started in 2015, with the formation of the Algarve Livre de Petróleo platform that demanded the publication of all contracts. After the publication of the contracts, several groups, associations and the regional government declared their opposition to any plans to drill for oil. In November a petition was delivered to the government.
The Algarve Livre de Petróleo platform unites over 10 organizations and aims to completely stop the investigation (and subsequent exploitation) of hydrocarbons, and it argue that oil exploration represents a threat to the environment, biodiversity and the economy. They in fact say "tourism is our oil".
Despite this, it seems the government aims to move ahead with the exploration.
Entidade Nacional para o Mercado de Combustíveis (www.enmc.pt)
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters
Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo (www.palp.pt), an umbrella organization including environmentalists and others entities
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)
MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization begin
LATENT (no visible resistance)
Fishermen Local government/political parties Neighbours/citizens/communities Social movements Trade unions Recreational users Local businesses
Forms of Mobilization
Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals) Development of a network/collective action Involvement of national and international NGOs Official complaint letters and petitions Public campaigns Arguments for the rights of mother nature Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts, Accidents
Visible: Loss of landscape/sense of place Potential: Other socio-economic impacts
Proposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / response
Strengthening of participation Under negotiation
Development of Alternatives
Tourism based economy and small business
Do you consider this as a success?
Why? Explain briefly.
The companies are currently doing research on the area to discover the amount of gas and oil that could be extracted.