Saturday, July 26, 2014

España: Respol Proposes Drilling for Oil in Gran Canaria, 3,000-5,000 Jobs at Stake

According to The Latin American Tribune, Spain’s Repsol said Tuesday (July 22) it expected to begin exploring for oil off the Canary Islands in the fourth quarter of this year.

Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau spoke with reporters about the planned start of oil and gas exploration before meeting in Gran Canaria with business leaders. The Repsol chief met earlier in the day with community leaders to explain the company’s plans.

The company is waiting for the Industry and Energy Ministry to issue the exploration license once the environmental impact review is completed, Brufau said.

The Canary Islands will experience “a before and after” if oil is found “because the riches that could be reaped, especially in the service sector in working with international companies to develop this project, would be of the first magnitude and (worth) billions of dollars,” Brufau said.

There are some “good signs” for the Canary Islands despite opposition in some quarters to oil drilling in the Atlantic archipelago, the Repsol CEO said.

COMMENT: The Canary Islands government, grassroots organizations and environmentalists are among those opposed to oil drilling.

Opponents accuse the national government of putting the interests of private companies before those of residents, warning that drilling accidents could threaten the tourism industry, the engine of the islands’ economy.

Repsol is a leading company in terms of technology and safety is “in its DNA,” Brufau said, adding that accidents and spills were unlikely.

Spain does not have large oil and gas fields, forcing it to import energy products worth 100 million euros (nearly $135 million) EACH DAY, the Repsol CEO said.

The discovery of oil or natural gas in the Atlantic archipelago would reduce the country’s future energy bill by a “large figure,” Brufau said.

An oil or gas discovery could create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs, the Repsol CEO intimated.