Spanish media have just revealed that Repsol, Spain’s leading oil company, will stop producing oil at the “Casablanca” oil platform, located off the coast of Tarragona, in the Mediterranean, next month of June. This oil rig is located close to the Cetaceans Migration Corridor, a Marine Protected Area declared by Spain and a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) by the Barcelona Convention (see attached map).
“This Repsol’s decision is a U-turn change in its policy regarding its “Casablanca” oil platform” says Carlos Bravo, campaigner at OceanCare, based in Madrid. Just a few months ago, Repsol was fighting against a lawsuit that claimed Repsol was not granted a 10-year renewal to one of the five exploitation concessions the company has in that area, whose license expired in December 2018. Repsol won the court case so they got the green light of Spain’s High Court to exploit that concession for an extra 10 years, counting from that date.
Although it is clear that the oil production in Repsol’s five exploitation concessions exploded by its “Casablanca” platform has been quickly declining in the last years, it is also true that this was a known fact in 2018 and even before, but Repsol was at that time clearly determined to keep on extracting oil in the area. Till now.
Therefore, this Repsol’s change of mind might be an indirect effect of Spain’s new Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, in force since past May 22, which prohibits the search for any new hydrocarbon resources throughout its national territory (land and maritime, including the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.
Although this Law allows Repsol to be actively running its “Casablanca” oil platform till the end of 2042, it is highly likely that the company has realised that there is no future for extracting oil in Spain (because of the mentioned ban on new projects) and that it doesn’t make any sense to keep on running that currently-not-very-profitable business if there is no legal chance to look for new hydrocarbon reservoirs in the area surrounding the platform to try to expand its activity.
“In any case, it is very good news not only for the climate but also for all the marvellous but menaced biodiversity trying to thrive in these Mediterranean waters” concludes Carlos Bravo.