07/08/2012 Lanzarote/Canary Islands (BG) - Spanish Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, has stressed that the discovery of oil, or gas, by Repsol would represent “salvation for the Canary Islands” as it would significantly help combat the “high rate of unemployment and weak economy of the region”.
In a recent interview with EFE, Soria emphasised the benefits the discovery of oil at sea would have for the Canarian economy. He reaffirmed his belief that the work Repsol propose to carry out 60 kilometres off the Lanzarote and Fuerteventura coasts, will in no way affect their respective tourism industries. Contrary to the belief of the majority of Canarian citizens, Soria believes that if oil or gas is found, it will have “an enormously positive effect on the islands”.
Referring to the extraction of oil and/or gas, Soria claimed: “It would be tremendously positive for the local economy, the mechanical, electrical, tourism, shopping and restaurant industries would all benefit, it would be the salvation of the Canary Islands”.
He went on to add that the Canarian economy is primarily dependant on the tertiary sector, mainly tourism, which accounts for over 28% of its income, far higher than the national average. Soria also lamented the “tragedy” that is the high unemployment rate of 31% in the archipelago, despite the region having experienced a record number of tourist visitors in 2011 when more than 12 million travelled to the Islands.
The discovery of oil would present “an extraordinary employment opportunity for the youth as well as for skilled professionals as there are quite a number of qualified engineers in the Canary Islands”. Soria concluded by outling his regret that the Canary Islands Government are not in favour of the project and have already made a number of complaints regarding the exploration.