France has cancelled the oil exploration permits in the Mediterranean. Oceana asks that Spain does the same

Spain’s commitment to the exploitation of offshore oil and gas is entirely contrary to the EU energy targets for 2030

Press Release Date: February 7, 2014

Location: Madrid


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Oceana asks Mariano Rajoy’s executive to take a stance similar to that of France which, during the mandate of Nicolas Sarkozy, cancelled all the permits for the exploration of oil and gas in its Mediterranean waters. France has gone from having almost a million hectares open to the search for hydrocarbons to zero by simple political will, which shows that Spain could do the same.

“We ask Mariano Rajoy’s government to do the same as Nicolas Sarkozy did in France and disallow all oil drilling in the Mediterranean,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “The French Conservative leader said that it was not a question of choosing between environmental protection and growth, but of simply opting for sustainable development. These words show that oil exploitation is a political decision. The only question is whether to opt for short-term or long-term policymaking.”

France had 11.25% of its Mediterranean waters, amounting to 996,700 hectares, open to oil exploration. In 2012, then President Sarkozy said he would not accept oil drilling in the Mediterranean, as “the Mediterranean is the heart of our identity”. With this decision, he discarded an energy resource for it being a source of damage to the ecosystem and of pollution.

Along similar lines, a few weeks ago the European Union approved a new energy plan that established a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and a 27% increase in renewable energy use by 2030.

“Spain is heading in the opposite direction to the European Union. The attitude of Minister José Manuel Soria, making every facility available to the oil companies, contrasts with the open war against renewable energy, which is in danger of being mortally wounded by the new decisions of the ministry. Thousands of jobs in tourism, fishing and clean energy could be affected by the black gold rush,” added Pastor.