THE major oil companies keep assuring an anxious world there there is still plenty of oil to keep the wheels of industry and transportation turning for decades to come. At the same time possible new oilfields are always being explored and over the past few days there have been reports that some of these could be nearer the Balearics than we had ever thought. A British company, Medoil is hoping to get permission from the Spanish government to prospect in the waters off Valencia. It follows, of course, that local environmental and tourism interests are already poised to sound alarms at the detrimental effect that oil rigs on the horizon would have for the area. The nearby Albufera lagoon is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Spain and , like Majorca's own Albufera, is an important staging post for migratory birds. The Costa Blanca is a thriving tourist region. There is a long way to go before these possible conflicts of interest become a reality. Under Spanish law permission for exploration for hydrocarbon energy has to be put out to tender and the Spanish press has reported that tenders have to be submitted by the end of October. MedOil is already searching in two other Mediterranean locations, off Malta and Tunisia. What would be the local reaction here if MedOil or another company announced that it wanted to survey, say, within sight of Pollensa?