Spanish oil company Repsol has been given final approval to begin exploratory work offshore the Canary Islands.
The decision has been announced in the Spanish government’s official bulletin, today, August 13, 2014.
Repsol plans to use the Rowan Renaissance drillship, currently engaged in an offshore block in Namibia, to drill for oil in the so far unexplored area off the coasts of the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
The Spanish company is anticipated to begin its exploration campaign later this year in the permits called Canary 1 and Canary 9. The work program for the area will include seismic surveying and, eventually, drilling of two exploration wells. Repsol may drill a third well following the evaluation of the results of the initial two wells.
Licence awarded 12 years ago
The government had given its approval for exploration in the area back in 2012, but due to several appeals against the drilling in the area, on environmental bases, drilling has been delayed pending court decisions.
In June this year Supreme Court of Spain rejected seven appeals against the Government’s decision to grant permission for exploration drilling in the area.
Repsol in May received a favorable notice from the country’s environment ministry, which said there were no indications that drilling in the area would harm the environment.
The licence was awarded to Repsol in 2002, together with its partners Woodside and RWE Dea.
The area covers a small Atlantic margin basin, which is prospective for gas as well as oil. The planned work program will be the first exploration activity ever in this basin.
According to Bloomberg, in case of a substantial oil discovery, Repsol and its partners are expected to invest up to $10 billion for the development of the project.