Oil and gas prospections in the Balearic Sea, Spain


Several companies are currently planning to explore for gas and oil in the Balearic Sea (Gulf of Valencia and Gulf of Lion).

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Basic Data
NameOil and gas prospections in the Balearic Sea, Spain
ProvinceBalearic Islands, Comunitat Valenciana, Catalonia
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe companies are currently doing research on the area to discover the amount of gas and oil that could be extracted.

The project dates back to 2010 when British firm Cairn Energy obtained four exploration licenses for the waters around the Balearic Islands, one of which is Ibiza.

The company now plans to use seismic imaging, which bounces sound waves off the ocean floor, to map pockets of underground oil in the region before it applies for government permits to start drilling.

Cairn Energy said it will carry out the seismic imaging over 2,400 square kilometres (930 square miles), an area roughly the size of Luxembourg, 53 kilometres (32 miles) from Ibiza. [1]
Type of PopulationUnknown
Start Date01/01/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesCairn Energy from United Kingdom - Promoter of the oil and gas exploration and development.
Spectrum ASA from Norway - Seismic multi-client and imaging specialists.
Capricorn Spain Limited from Spain - Local subsidiary of the Scottish oil company Cairn Energy
Repsol from Spain
Relevant government actorsRegional government of the Balearics, headed by Popular Party (PP)

Federal Government of Spain
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAlianza Mar Blava (Blue Sea Alliance) http://alianzamarblava.org - an umbrella organization of 50 groups including environmentalists, hoteliers and unions Balearic fishermen's association
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Kate Moss and David Guetta, local businesses
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Other socio-economic impacts
OtherImpact on the tourist sector (potential). Decrease of fishing (potential).
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesEl golfo de Valencia, las Islas Baleares o la costa del Levante son lugares de gran interés ecológico y, en consecuencia, económico debido a las actividades que dependen del buen estado de la Naturaleza, como la pesca o el turismo de calidad.

Tan sólo el turismo (según los últimos datos de Exceltour de 2009) aporta un 43% al PIB de Baleares, genera más de un 30% del empleo, y el 39% de impuestos. La pesca profesional aporta al PIB un 0,25% generando empleo directo para 672 personas. (http://alianzamarblava.org/es/defendemos/)
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Whether the exploration will proceed remains to be seen
Sources and Materials

Resolucion de terminacion y archivo expediente 20110091 sondeos acusticos Seabird en Golfo de Leon (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Petición permiso MedOil (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Transmisión licencia MedOil (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Petición licencia Alta Mar (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Licencia Alta Mar (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Licencia MedOil (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Correción RD licencia Alta Mar (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Apertura información pública para el EIA de los sondeos sísmicos en el Golfo de Valencia (via Alianza Mar Blava).
[click to view]

[1] Oil Drilling off Spain's Coast threatens one of the world's premier party hotspots
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Alianza Mar Blava. Local organization against the prospections.
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Cairn Energy. Projects of Cairn Energy in Spanish waters.
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Sprectrum ASA. Webpage of Spectrum ASA with information of the projects in Spain.
[click to view]

Media Links

Post on the "I Foro Ciudadano de Fomento de Turismo: el petróleo de nuestras islas". (In Spanish)
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Post in VueltaenterA by Juanjo Suárez: "Sobre las prospecciones petrolíferas en el Mar Balear: por qué sí, por qué no".
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Foto: Manifestantes contra las prospecciones en Formentera. Imagen via Página Oficial de Turisme de Formentera en Facebook.
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Post in "VueltaenterA" on the conference organized by Amics de la Terra in Palma de Mallorca.
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Foto: Barco con sónar que emplea Cairn Energy en sus campañas de adquisición sísmica.
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Foto: Imagen de la cabeza de la Marea Azul en Palma, contra las prospecciones petrolíferas. EFE/MONTSERRAT T. DÍEZ (22/Feb/2014)
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Foto: Imagen de la manifestación en Ibiza. Foto Víctor Olvier – www.elpais.com via http://www.formenteraforever.com/
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Other Documents

Proyecto INDEMARES Mediterráneo Identificación de las áreas de especial interés para la conservación de los cetáceos en el Mediterráneo español.
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Mapa del Gobierno de España sobre las prospecciones Mapa de posición de permisos de investigación y concesiones de explotación y almacenamiento subterráneo.
[click to view]

Documento técnico de CAIRN para el programa de adquisición sísmica 3D Permisos de investigación de hidrocarburos Benifayó, Gandía, Alta Mar 1 y Alta Mar 2
[click to view]

Mapa de actividades previstas en el Mediterráneo occidental Mapa de los proyectos solicitados o pendientes de solicitud en el Mar Balear.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJuanjo Suárez ([email protected])
Last update27/05/2014