Operators raise concerns over Italy drilling restriction

Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG) says a proposed amendment to Italy’s Environmental Code could impact its Ombrina Mare development project in the Adriatic Sea.

Offshore staff

ROME -- Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG) says a proposed amendment to Italy’s Environmental Code could impact its Ombrina Mare development project in the Adriatic Sea.

Earlier this week, the environment minister outlined a legislative decree which would prohibit drilling operations within 5 mi (8 km) of the Italian coastline. The Ombrina Mare structure is within the proposed exclusion zone.

MOG says it has started reviewing alternative well locations outside this zone in case the legislative decree does restrict its operations.

London-based Northern Petroleum, which holds more licenses offshore Italy than any other operator bar ENI, believes that most of its interests – lying farther out at sea – would not be affected. The one exception would be in the Ionian Sea off southern Italy, where the company has three preliminary awards and two permit applications. Concerning the preliminary awards, the new proposals would rule out work on most of the areas in d59F.R-.NP and d64F.R-.NP.

Northern’s previous discussions with the Ministry of Industry and Economic Development focused mainly on a 3 nautical mile (3.45 mi) limitation. This, the company said, had been accommodated with minimal impact on its planned work program.

Managing director Derek Musgrove said: “We have always conducted ourselves with due consideration to marine parks, sensitive coastal areas and the environment in general. It is not surprising the Italian government would have some reaction to events in the Gulf of Mexico, and now we can move forward with their views having been expressed.”


07/02/2010

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