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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
Name of conflict:Oil and gas prospections in the Balearic Sea, Spain
State or province:Balearic 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 commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The companies are currently doing research on the area to discover the amount of gas and oil that could be extracted.

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Type of populationUnknown
Start of the conflict:01/01/2010
Company names or state enterprises:Cairn 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 actors:Regional government of the Balearics, headed by Popular Party (PP)
Federal Government of Spain
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alianza Mar Blava (Blue Sea Alliance) - an umbrella organization of 50 groups including environmentalists, hoteliers and unions Balearic fishermen's association
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local 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 mobilization:Artistic 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-economical ImpactsPotential: Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsImpact on the tourist sector (potential). Decrease of fishing (potential).
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:El 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. (
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Whether the exploration will proceed remains to be seen
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[1] Oil Drilling off Spain's Coast threatens one of the world's premier party hotspots
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Licencia Alta Mar (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Transmisión licencia MedOil (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).
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Petición permiso MedOil (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Petición licencia Alta Mar (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Resolucion de terminacion y archivo expediente 20110091 sondeos acusticos Seabird en Golfo de Leon (via Alianza Mar Blava).
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Cairn Energy. Projects of Cairn Energy in Spanish waters.
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Alianza Mar Blava. Local organization against the prospections.
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Sprectrum ASA. Webpage of Spectrum ASA with information of the projects in Spain.
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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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Foto: Barco con sónar que emplea Cairn Energy en sus campañas de adquisición sísmica.
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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: Imagen de la manifestación en Ibiza. Foto Víctor Olvier – via
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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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Post on the "I Foro Ciudadano de Fomento de Turismo: el petróleo de nuestras islas". (In Spanish)
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Meta information
Contributor:Juanjo Suárez ([email protected])
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1236
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