With the “Sblocca Italia” (unlock Italy) decree of last year the Italian government totally centralized the power about energy matters and is now giving many new oil exploitation concession to oil companies. This is causing a lot of alarm among the population concerned. The public debate is rising quickly and the scientific works against oil drilling promoted by citizen is starting.
Italy is the european country with the major oil reserves on shore, but has also oilfields offshore. After the crisis of 2008 the government decided to exploit them in order to reduce the dependency on the import of energy from abroad. The most important issues are that Italian oil generally is a bad quality one, almost the entire country is seismic, the impact on the fragile mediterranean environment is too heavy as it is on landscape for a touristic country like Italy. On the other side Italy has the lowest royalties in the world (10% against 85% of Saudi Arabia) so benefits are not so high. Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, said last year that in Italy we don’t extract more oil cause “of three, four little committees”,trying to discredit who take position against wells.
These committees, however, are growing in number and power as the areas involved by extraction increase, like in Abruzzo, and are starting to publish scientific studies, (like that published by Dr. Albina Colella on the pollution of fresh water in Basilicata) to contrast the official voices of institutions and oil companies. The lesson of Basilicata and his pollution due to oil drilling is there and no one wants it to happen again. The fight has already started and some success has been reached, as in the small village of Bomba in Abruzzo. Citizen scientific work and comunication will be an important weapon against wells in next years.