Start of the action : 08/08/2018

Surfrider supports Allianza Mar Blava in their actions toward the creation of a “Hydrocarbon Prospecting Free Zone” declared by law in the Spanish Mediterranean!


Mar Blava is a cross-sector alliance consisting of government entities, potentially affected sectors such as fisheries, tourism, nautical, social and environmental organizations, trade unions and public and private institutions. The alliance goal is to ensure that the Mediterranean under Spanish jurisdiction is declared by law “Hydrocarbon Prospecting Free Zone”. As a member of the collective, Surfrider supports through communication, mobilisation and European law advice.

Oil explorations and drilling are a direct threat to the Mediterranean coast, their users, and wildlife. In May of 2015, the oil company Cairn Energy was forced to abandon definitively the program of exploration and later exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Valencia and, in July of 2016, the Ministry of the Environment (MAGRAMA) had to resolve, at the request of the Mar Blava Alliance, the finalization of the file and the definitive archiving of the oil prospecting project of the Services Petroliers Schlumberger in the Gulf of Leon. Now, the short-term priorities are to ensure that the central government does not authorize Spectrum Geo Limited projects in the Balearic Sea and the National Institute of Oceanography and Geophysics Sperimentale (INOGS) di Trieste (Italy) in the waters of Mallorca and Ibiza and Formentera.


Surfrider Foundation Europe and our local Barcelona office as members of Alianza Mar Blava.


Oil explorations and drilling are a major factor in Climate Change and are a direct threat to the Mediterranean sea, their users, and wildlife. There are many climate change issues we face on a global level and so are the consequences for marine areas and the coastline. Several environmental challenges specifically related to ocean acidification, integrated shoreline management or even coastline conservation and planning are therefore emerging. Likewise, as coastal territories are particularly vulnerable to climate change, specific attention is needed as well as preventative and/or adaptation actions in those marine and coastal areas.

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The former Spanish government had shown interest in forbidding explorations of hydrocarbons in the Spanish seas. The Ministry of the Environment approved some important legislation and protection figures such as the marine mammals’ and cetacean’s corridor in the Spanish Mediterranean to avoid new gas and oil explorations projects.

Although there are some victories, so far there is no concrete action by the Mediterranean Authorities to protect their sea from the oil companies. However, the co-working of the members of this alliance has been a great asset when facing Madrid to demand a Mediterranean free of prospection.


The Western Mediterranean declared by law free zone of oil prospecting and drilling.