PALP said in a statement that the Central Administrative Court decision to suspend the effectiveness of the private permit for the use of maritime space, as a "step backwards" and accused the court of "opting to ignore the right to the precautionary principle as laid down in the Environment Basic Law of 2014."

The statement added that it was now considering legal options, with actions underway against the Ministry of Sea and against the Ministry of the Environment, both based on the negative impact oil drilling will have on the region.

In August, Loulé court accepted the precautionary action brought by the Oil-Free Algarve Platform to halt the oil exploration well, which was expected to begin last September.

Shortly after that, Portugal’s Galp and Italy’s Eni, oil and gas companies, announced they had decided to abandon the oil prospection project off Aljezur, in the Algarve, in an area called the Alentejo Basin, since “the existing conditions made it objectively impossible” to carry out the exploration activities.

The Eni-led consortium had planned to begin oil exploration in the basin between September and October, after a preparation estimated to last for three months, according to a report sent to the Portuguese Environment Agency.

Opposition to drilling for oil off the coast of Portugal has been growing in recent months, with a number of groups organising relatively small demonstrations in Lisbon and the south of the country. Opponents of the projects fear that they could threaten the environment and the region's tourism industry.