Spanish News April 2017

Repsol unearths largest oil deposit in 30 years of drilling in North America

Along with its commercial partner Armstrong Energy, Spanish petro-chemical giant Repsol uncovered the source of black gold in the State of Alaska in the wells known as Horseshoe 1 and 1A, which were drilled over the winter.

It is the greatest quantity of subterranean hydrocarbon fuel worldwide found by Repsol in over seven years, since it drilled wells in Perla, Venezuela, in October 2009.

The energy corporation, chaired by Antonio Brufau and founded 30 years ago in Madrid, says the wells unearthed in Alaska contain around 1.2 billion barrels of crude oil and is connected to a supply found in Pikka, in the same State, during its last excavation campaign. Having been actively fracking in Alaska since 2008 and finding multiple underground wells in the North Slope area since 2011 in conjunction with Armstrong Energy, Repsol is now working on how to exploit the supply. It will set a development plan in motion which will extract the fuel for energy use from the year 2021 onwards.

Repsol owns 49% of the Pikka oil field in the Nanushuk Mountains, where it has opened 13 wells leading to numerous deposits and is a 25% shareholder in the more recently-discovered Horseshoe oil field.
Armstrong Energy owns the rest and, between them, they drilled down 1,828 metres in Horseshoe 1, finding a net column of petroleum of over 46 metres, then a 2,503-metre well in Horseshoe 1A, discovering a 30-metre column of oil, both of which are in the Nanushuk area.

Protesters Call for Murcia Regional President to Quit

Over 4,000 residents gathered in Murcia calling for the region's president to resign in light of his being investigated for corruption.
Pedro Antonio Sánchez is one of the accused parties in a case of bribery, paperwork forgery and inflated estimates involved in building the Puerto Lumbreras auditorium when he was mayor of Murcia City.

It is believed that a grant was given to build the concert hall, but not all of it was used and the shortfall cannot be officially accounted for.
As yet, Pedro A. Sánchez (PP) has not been formally accused and insists his involvement in the investigation is 'purely administrative'.

Wi-Fi Launched at Outer Suburban Rail Stations

National rail board RENFE has just launched a new free Wi-Fi service for its Cercanías, or outer suburban line stations in 12 towns and cities. Passengers can connect for up to half an hour for free, once every 24-hours and can use the PlayRENFE platform provided by operator Movístar.

Around 231 million passengers who regularly travel to and from the 20 stations where the Wi-Fi network has been installed in will benefit from the move. The connection zone starts from the station entrance doorway and includes the platforms.

AVE internet connections last for the full length of the journey and are free of charge, whilst the Cercanías Wi-Fi network is only for half an hour because passengers generally do not spend very long in the stations, as journeys on this link are typically across two or three towns or for routes of under an hour.

Spanish architects win Pritzker Prize

A global award known as 'the Nobel Prize for Architects' has gone to a trio in Catalunya, only the second time it has landed in Spain and the first time in history that three have been given out at once.

Normally, the Pritzker Prize is awarded to a sole architect or a studio, but this time Carme Pigem, Rafael Aranda and Ramón Vilalta, have each been given a separate Pritzker Prize instead of just one being granted for their studio, RCR.

The Hyatt Foundation in Chicago, USA, chaired by Tom Pritzker, gives the 'Architects' Nobel' to those who 'show commitment to their place of residence'. A huge amount of their work has been in the town of Olot (Girona province) where they hail from. These include a nursery school, a library and the Les Cols Restaurant, the Bell-Lloc wine merchant's in Palamós and in their region, the Sant Antoni-Joan Oliver Library in Barcelona. Some of their star projects have been built in France, including the La Cuisine Centre des Arts in Nègrepelisse and the Musée Soulages in Rodez.

They have worked as a threesome since they graduated from the High Technical College of Architecture in Vallés, in 1987, setting up their studio the following year.

The jury praised the team's 'juxtaposition of past and present' in many of their buildings, including their own studio, where restored edifices nevertheless retain their original industrial architectural features, and a fusion of tradition and innovation somehow leads to a very practical end result.

Spain's Digital Performance 'Above EU Average', but Broadband is Second-Most Expensive in Europe

The cheapest monthly offer for a connection with a speed of between 12 and 30MBps comes in at 2.7% of a person's gross income – way above the EU average of 1.18%. The cheapest connections in the EU are found in Sweden, Germany, Finland and Austria, in that order.

An annual study known as the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) measures advances in digital technology in the EU-28 and examines five areas – connectivity, human capital, internet use, integration of technology, and online public services. When taking all five into account, Spain is 14th out of the 28, up from number 15 last year and joins nine other countries which fall somewhere around the middle – Austria, Germany, Malta, Lithuania, Portugal, France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Latvia.

Complete packages, where a customer has broadband, landline, mobile phone and other features such as TV channels or portable wireless internet, can bring the cost of each individual service down considerably and include other perks.

Demonstrators Call For Protection For Iberian Wolf Population

Thousands of demonstrators marched through Madrid calling for greater protection for the Iberian wolf, which is in danger of extinction. Organised by numerous pro-animal and conservation associations including the WWF, European Greens, European Wolf Conservation Alliance, Ecologists in Action and Marley Wolf, the protest filled the streets of the capital.

"The Iberian wolf is the jewel in our fauna crown," said Juan Carlos del Olmo, secretary-genearal of WWF Spain. Those to the south of the river Duero, in Castilla y León, are tightly protected, but those to the north of the river are at the mercy of different regional laws.
Yet in neighbouring Portugal, these wolves are heavily protected by stringent conservation laws.

First Iberian Lynx Cub Born in Doñana National Park

An Iberian lynx cub has been born in the Doñana National Park through a controlled breeding programme attempting to revive the population of this near-extinct wild cat.

Adelfa, the oldest female lynx in the conservation scheme, gave birth.
The cub was born in the breeding centre in El Acebuche (Huelva Province).
According to the National Parks Regional Organisation (OPAN), the first Iberian lynxes of 2017 were born in the Zarza de Granadilla nature reserve in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura, about a week before the one in the Doñana. Carers have to keep a close eye on all the new mums, since first-time Iberian lynx mothers often abandon their newborns.