Cairns Energy backs out of Ibiza oil search

A SCOTTISH OIL giant has dropped plans to explore off the coast of Spain following a high-profile campaign involving celebs like Kate Moss and Paris Hilton.

There were plans to explore off the coast of La Isla Blanca. Picture: Creative Commons

Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy has asked the Spanish government to terminate licences to prospect for oil and gas off the holiday island of Ibiza in the Gulf of Valencia.

Their plans had attracted opposition from environmental campaigners and high profile celebrities such as Kate Moss, Jade Jagger, singer Sophie Ellis Bextor and DJ Fatboy Slim.

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However the company has stated that while it remains committed to other projects in Spain it now wishes to focus its attention on oil and gas exploration in Senegal.

Celebrities had posed for and then posted selfie pictures with a handwritten cardboard sign against the plans saying ‘Ibiza Says No.’

They also signed a a petition submitted to Spain’s government urging it to rethink its decision to give Cairn Energy the green light to look for oil through a Spanish subsidiary.

Vicent Serra, outgoing president of Ibiza’s local government the Consell of Ibiza which opposed the exploration plans, said: “We can feel satisfied today. The opposition campaign played a great part in this decision.”

Cairn Energy obtained licences in 2011 from the Spanish government to explore for oil off the eastern coast of Spain, between Ibiza and Majorca.

A spokeswoman for Cairn Energy said in a statement: ”Cairn is maintaining an interest in Spain and has made applications for acreage offshore Gulf of Lion and the Bay of Biscay.

“The company has an ongoing commitment to develop the hydrocarbon industry offshore Spain and wishes to continue to work with the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce to this effect.

“As previously announced, Cairn wishes to focus the business in the next one to two years offshore Senegal where the company made two discoveries at the end of last year and plans up to six further wells in 2016/2017.”

Last year 10,000 people marched through Ibiza Town to protest at the oil firm’s plans.

Thousands signed petitions and twenty people also posed naked covered in mock oil for a piece of performance art.

Opponents warned the island’s beautiful beaches were at risk of being covered in oil and painted a nightmare scenario of people in protective suits trying to save dying birds and animals in the event of a spill.

Online music mag Ibiza Voice, in a stark warning about island magnets like hippy beach Benirras which is a favourite of PM David Cameron and his family, said: “Forget about dancing at Bora Bora, sipping champagne at Blue Marlin, dancing to the drums at Benirras on sunset - the sea around Ibiza will be dead.

“The small island will turn into a big cemetery and the endless party will stop for a long, long time.”

Cairn’s decision to withdraw from its four exploration permits in the Gulf of Valencia is understood to have been forwarded to the Spanish government on April 27.

The Ministry of Industry waited until the day after regional and local elections on May 24 to forward the termination request to the Ministry of the Environment.