The Balearic government today expressed its satisfaction that the oil and gas prospecting rights issued by the former national government under Jose Luis Zapatero (PSOE - socialists) to the British company Cairn Energy have been suspended. Cairn Energy were due to have prospected in the Gulf of Valencia, which would have meant that prospecting would have taken place in Balearic water, provoking widespread opposition across the islands.

However, Balearic government spokesperson, Marc Pons, said that the decision by Madrid is not enough because there are still two prospecting operations and one of these is in Balearic waters. Nevertheless, the suspension, he said, is the first step towards the permits being cancelled.

According to an entry in the Official Bulletin, these permissions, called Benifayó, Gandía, Alta Mar 1 and Alta Mar 2, have been suspended pending environmental impact assessments. Following the resolution to extinguish them, “on account of relinquishment by the holder,” the areas in question revert to the state and will acquire a status of being free and registrable within six months.