READING one of the local newspaper websites, La Voz de Almeria, I noticed an interesting story about prospecting for oil off the Almerían coast.
Fossil fuel prices, especially that of oil, are reaching record highs these days. This has encouraged large multi-national groups to seek new oil exploration areas in an attempt to find new sources.
In recent months the Alborán Sea has become one of the strategic objectives of these companies. Requests for permits have been made to drill in the waters of the Alborán, in a strip off the Almería, Granada and Málaga coast.
So far there have been seven specific authorisations to search for both natural gas fields and oil. The first three licenses, the furthest away from Almería, have already been approved about a year ago and are covered by a project codenamed Siroco.
The remaining four applications, with the project name Chinook, were made in the second half of last year and approved by the Spanish Government on 23 December 2010. These four surveys are also in part of the Alboran Sea, closer to the coast of Almería.
The Siroco project surveys will be conducted by a subsidiary of Repsol called RIPSA (Repsol Investigaciones Petrolíferas SA), working in partnership with Gas Natural Exploracien SL. The Spanish company has a 60 percent stake in the joint company, while Gas Natural has the remaining 40 percent.
Investigations of oil and natural gas in the project dubbed Chinook will be conducted by CNWL Oil, a Spanish subsiduary of the multinational Canadian company Sherritt International. This company has been set up to develop future oil and gas exploration, among other functions related to the energy sector.
The plans of the companies that have obtained authorisation from the Spanish authorities envisage that the authorisation may be published in the Government Gazette during this month of February 2011. If so work could start in the first weeks of March.
Searching for oil and gas has been welcomed by both the Ministry of Industry and the Junta de Andalucía.