New oil search could hit the Canary Islands

Repsol refinery

The threat of oil exploitation has returned to the Canary Islands, with the upsurge in petrol prices reviving interest in oil fields around the islands. Leading Spanish oil giant, Repsol, are expected to apply to dust off old unused drilling licences, to plunder deposits under the sea.

The Spanish Institute of Oceanography confirmed in 2002, that there is a large deposit of oil near Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Spains Prime Minister Aznar granted 9 new drilling licences to search for oil but at the time Repsol considered that it was not cost effective to start the search. Now times have changed and the President of Repsol, Antoni Brufau has indicated that the company will now push ahead to discover exactly how much oil the Canary Islands can yield.

As well as economic times changing, so have political times. The current Prime Minister Zapatero, on his summer holiday to Lanzarote in 2006, promised that no permission would be given to drill for oil unless there was a consensus from the island people. Sadly the higher that oil prices go, the more likely large scale drilling in the Canary Islands becomes.

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