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More oil fury as Lanzarote denounces Repsol 


Oil company Repsol has been accused of “manipulating information” about its controversial application for test drilling off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

Lanzarote’s Cabildo has denounced the company’s information policy and accused security measures as being “fictional” and “intended to deceive the Canary population”.

“The only thing that is certain in the field of oil exploration is that no-one can guarantee safety,” said Cabildo president, Pedro San Ginés.

Lanzarote believes Repsol is “hiding the real risks of the world’s most polluting industry” and believes it is playing down the risk of oil spills or accidents.

The Cabildo has issued a formal complaint after hearing that Catalunya has accused Repsol of not fully reporting details of an oil spill in a refinery in Tarragona.

It has also described Spain’s go-ahead for test drilling in the waters off the Canary Islands as “really crazy and unacceptable nonsense”.

The Cabildo has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the project and advocated instead support for sustainable energy in the Canaries.

The accident in Tarragona involved the rupture of a pipeline and an investigation is underway to find out the extent of any pollution. Repsol says there was a discharge of around 4,500 tonnes though this is being disputed. The company insists there has been no pollution.

However, Lanzarote’s Cabildo claims this is not an isolated incident and that in reality, there has been a succession of spills and that Repsol was twice sanctioned by Tarragona for discharges in 2009. It also claims that some of the spills have led to the closure of beaches in the summer.

Repsol is currently drawing up a full environmental report about the test drilling off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and says all possible safeguards would be put in place to ensure the safety of the Canaries.

Anti-oil campaigners are not convinced and say just one accident could spell the end for tourism and wildlife.

Just recently, there was a suggestion from some hoteliers that oil might actually be beneficial to the Canaries if the archipelago received an income but conversely, the Canary Government says it would impose a tax on the oil company as a deterrent. No amount of money, it says, would be worth the risk.