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Scottish multinational requests permission to look for gas and petrol on Catalan coast

A Scottish multinational has asked permission from the Spanish Ministry of Industry in order to look for hydrocarbons on the Catalan coast, in front of the Costa Brava and Maresme areas. This request has been made shortly after another company, Teredo Oils United, has been authorised to seek for fossil fuels in the Catalan counties of Ripollès, Garrotxa and Osona. Ecologist groups criticise the procedure due to their “serious impact on the marine ecosystems”. Allegations or other offers to carry out the project that can compete with the original one, may be presented over the next two months.

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29 January 2013 09:01 PM

by

ACN / Laia Ros

Girona (ACN).- A Scottish multinational has asked the Spanish Ministry of Industry for an authorisation to look for hydrocarbons on the northern Catalan coast. Capricorn Spain S.L., the Spanish subsidiary of Scottish Cairn Energy, wants to carry out soundings in more than one million hectares out to sea, from the Gulf of Lion, close to Perpignan in France, stretching down to the Greater Barcelona area, passing by in front of the Costa Brava and Maresme. Ecologist groups criticise the procedure due to their \u201Cserious impact on the marine ecosystems\u201D.  Allegations or other offers to carry out the project that can compete with the original one, may be presented over the next two months.


The multinational asked for permission more than a year ago, and now the Minister of Industry has started to respond to the petition by publishing it in the Official Bulletin of the State (BOE), the official gazette of the Government of Spain. Allegations or other offers to carry out the project that can compete with the original one, may be presented over the next two months.

If the project goes ahead Catalonia will not be the only place in the Mediterranean Sea where Cairn Energy will try to look for fuel; it already has permission to look for hydrocarbons on the Valencian coast.

This request takes place shortly after a similar petition from another company, Teredo Oils United, which has been authorised to seek for fossil fuels in the Catalan counties of Ripollès, Garrotxa and Osona (in northern Central Catalonia).

Ecologists object

Fossil fuels research will be done using seismic analysis. This technique allows rocky formations which can contain petrol and gas to be found. Ecologist groups have criticised this method, and both the Naturalists Association of Girona and the Ninam Project claim that these explorations will \u201Chave a serious impact on marine ecosystems\u201D.

The two ecologist groups declare that seismic analysis will damage fish, cephalopods, cetaceans and coral. Besides, both groups claim that the area of exploration is \u201Chuge\u201D, and that it will affect both \u201Chigh ecological value spots\u201D and \u201Cmigratory animals\u201D. They also say that some protected cetaceans groups live in this part of the Mediterranean.

Ecological groups say that they will present allegations to the project of Capricorn Spain Limited S.L., and add that, if necessary, they will ask for the \u201Csupport of citizens to present legal procedures to stop the company\u201D.

The explorations planned by Toledo Oils United has been criticised by other ecologists, because they fear that the company will use the controversial \u201Cfracking\u201D approach in order to seek for hydrocarbons, adding to soil pollution.

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  • An image of the Cap de Creus natural park, in the northern part of the Costa Brava (by M. López)

  • An image of the Cap de Creus natural park, in the northern part of the Costa Brava (by M. López)