June 2014 Archive

Oil exploration in spain

Sadly, Spain is one of Europe’s least energy sufficient nations, having to import some 99% of its gas and oil needs.

It’s no wonder then that central government has just given permission for the commencement of oil exploration in the waters between Valencia and the Balearic Islands. This is despite considerable opposition – from regional and provincial government representatives, from local town halls, from environmental groups, from residents associations and from tourism trade associations. These opponents argue that there will be damage to the environment, harm to sea life and incalculable damage to tourism, once pictures of Spanish oil rigs are sent around the world.

Calls from the Izquierda Plural party (ICV) to cancel licences and geological surveys have been turned down. The geological surveys will be carried out by Capricorn Spain Limited, a sister company of Cairn Energy, and will occur between October and February next.

The pro-exploration voices, although remarkably muted thus far, point out the potential for increases in employment. Many expatriates, who have lived near coasts where drilling has occurred off shore, indicate that very little damage has been in evidence – to the environment, or to tourism.

Perhaps the last word on the topic this time around goes to the approving authorities, who remind everyone that all that’s been sanctioned is exploration – not drilling. On the other hand, there’s no doubt the decision is influenced by the discovery of oil deposits off the Canaries, estimated to be some 500 million barrels of crude.

Mindful of the millions of people still unemployed, with the economy showing only modest signs of recovery, the Spanish government seems to be willing to brush aside environmental worries and give the green light to oil companies. Thus far, 70 licences have been approved for the exploration of both shale gas and conventional resources.

Already it is evident that the most likely areas for shale gas are in the north – in the Basque country, Asturias and Cantabria. Initial explorations have commenced, in Asturias and Castilla y Leon. While a number of regional governments have outlawed fracking – central government has passed legislation that overrules regional administrations on the matter. The organisation Shale Gas Espana claims that while shale gas will not make Spain self sufficient, fracking will allow Spain to be 60% rather than 80% reliant on conventional gas. 

Until recently, there was heavy investment in renewables. So much so that wind power now provides 20% of the grid and solar 3%. However, the government seems to have lost its relish for renewables, and has made severe subsidy cuts.

One prediction, by an expert in the industry, suggests that Spain, with all the current oil and gas exploration activity, could become a gas exporter by 2030/2031, while producing 20% of the oil it consumes

 

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Posted by on Tuesday 10th June 2014

Keep your passport safe!

That’s an obvious thing to do, so why mention it? The matter’s raised since statistics have just revealed that in Spain last year, over 6000 passports were either lost or stolen. Bag theft was the largest cause at 39%. Theft from cars accounted for 20% and pick-pockets helped themselves to 15%. Break-ins of apartments or villas was the lowest cause of passport loss at 14%, but still involved a large number of passports. Then, this statistic is truly amazing. Interpol has a list of 40 million lost or stolen passports on its database

Losing a passport abroad, whatever the reason, means a visit to the nearest British consulate. In the case of Moraira residents, a trip to Malaga or Madrid is involved, to acquire an emergency passport. Aside from all the time spent in doing this, there’s a financial cost too – the euro equivalent of £95 per person. A family of 4 will face a bill of almost £400 for emergency travel documents.

The British Consular Regional Director for Spain tells us to keep our passport in a money belt under our clothing, rather than in a rucksack or handbag, and never to leave passports in cars. He also suggests the avoidance of carrying all your passports together in the one place.

Obtaining new travel documents while abroad is expensive and time consuming, but it’s also a real hassle. Consequently, here are some ideas to eliminate, or at least, reduce that hassle –

·       Scan your passport with relevant visa pages and upload to a secure on-line storage site…

·       Record your passport number and phone nos of credit card companies

·       Keep a photocopy of your passport.

·       Carry a few extra passport photos.

Remember, you cannot fly to the UK on your Spanish Residencia ID. You could try to fly using the Guardia Civil report on the passport loss, but our Malaga Consulate predicts this would be rejected even before aircraft boarding.

So, it appears the only thing to do is to get a new passport – and here’s how you can go about it.

·       If the passport has been stolen, report the theft to the police

·       Go to http://www.embassy-worldwi de.com/embassies-of-united- kingdom-in-spain/  select the nearest British Embassy and contact them regarding obtaining a new passport.

·       Obtain forms C1 (8 pages) and LSO1 (2 pages). C1 is the application form for a new passport.  LSO1 is the form for notification of stolen or lost passports.     Obtain the notes as well to help you make sure the form is completed correctly. Any mistakes will cause a delay to passport issue.

·       The British Consulate will require your physical address for the addressing of the return package, so include this on the C1 form. They are not allowed to use a PO Box for return delivery.

·       Originals of Birth (and Marriage Certificate if you are a married woman, divorcee documentation etc as detailed on form C1) need to be enclosed with form C1. Please note that photocopies of these documents will not be accepted.

·       A photocopy of the police report filed with the Guardia Civil needs to be presented along with a photocopy of the stolen passport, if you have it.

·       Two passport photos will be required – one certified to be of your likeness by someone who has known you for 2 years or more.

·       Go along to the British Consulate at Malaga, to present all this information.

·       It is assumed your trip to the UK will not result in an early return to Spain. In this case, there’ll be plenty of time to acquire a full and new passport, for future use. If however, you need to return to Spain in the following few days, then a visit to the Madrid consulate will be necessary.

You can obviously see the wisdom of keeping your passport safe, and your life hassle free.

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Posted by on Monday 2nd June 2014