On a fast track mode, the Ministerial Council approved oil exploration operations in deep waters offshore the Canary Islands. The approved project includes the drilling of exploratory wells on the seabed at depths of 3,500 m.
As stated by WWF Spain, this activity involves important risks and actual impacts on the environment, especially severe on deep sea benthic communities. Also threatened are the cetacean populations which feed and reproduce in the area and are particularly sensitive to the acoustic shock resulting from the seismic survey activities. Plans for oil exploration in this same were cancelled by the Spanish Supreme Court in 2004. The regional authorities of the Canaries have already voiced their opposition to the plans, fearing pollution incidents that would be catastrophic to the booming tourism industry.
Offshore oil drilling exploration rights are in the process of being approved in crisis-hit Portugal and Greece.