OIL prospecting in the Baleares featured extensively in last week's Daily B. The President of the Baleares Francesc Antich is quoted as saying “tourism and oil prospecting is totally incompatible”. This was not the case in Palma in the 1970's when several hundred “Oil Prospecting” families, mostly from the USA, moved here during the oil boom in Algeria. The “serious concern that drilling platforms will begin appearing off the coast of the Baleares” is just the opposite to the warm welcome given last year to the pipe line laying platform bringing us gas nor to the record breaking subsea cable currently being laid bringing us electricity largely produced in Oil Fired Generators.

Simply a case of NIMBY – not in my back yard?

All mining is dangerous and you can rest assured it is not in an Oil Company's interest to have oil spills from accidents like BP's Macondo/Deepwater Horizon (11 killed) nor Occidental's Piper Alpha (167 killed). No amount of “maximum environmental security” as called for by Sr. Antich can guarantee 100% safety. In the hurricane threatened Gulf of Mexico oil companies are drilling in water depths of 5000 feet (almost 1 mile down) and then are drilling a further 18000 feet into the sea bed (over 3 miles deep). This blow out was eventually sealed by using what amount to remotely controlled robots working at a depth below sea level more than the height of Everest. This is Man on the Moon technology and should be recognised as such. Just as NASA has had fatal accidents despite their very best efforts continuing space exploration will suffer more accidents and more fatalities – just like front line petroleum exploration. Very unfortunate but no reason to stop either.

On a lighter note if gas is found the recent pipe line will not be wasted just used in reverse with us supplying mainland Spain and eventually all of Europe (?). Oil is often found at the same time. With luck we'll have an Oil Boom here. The Texans will return to Cala Major and Plaza Gomila will throb again. Riki will reopen MOP “My Own Place” and big Mo her Africa bar. The Daily B will mushroom into an Al Jazeera to rival Qatar's and our Scottish Tourists will have direct flights to the new Dubai all year round.

Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma