June 2008: the Italian oil industry, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, seems to be going through a second youth. According to the oilmen of the most prominent companies, the renovated interest in investments for oil wells in the national territory is a concrete and sustainable answer to the growing demand for oil, and the continuous rise in its price.

Saudi Italy

Nonetheless, the production of oil from Italian basins represents today only 7% of the national oil need, with a value of 5.4 millions tons of oil equivalent. This should be enough to dissuade the supporters of the plausibility of a “Saudi Italy”, however with today’s peak in the price of crude oil, the critical level below which the costs of extraction are less then the actual revenues, is suddenly positioned to favor investments. Italy’s 150 billion € worth of hydrocarbons lie at 3000 to 4000 meters of depth. That is where the major multinational look for oil and gas.
From the rice fields around Novara and Modena, to the off shore wells of Ortona, down to the secluded valleys of Val d’Agri and Corleto Perticara, until the very end of the country, in Val di Noto- we have followed the tracks of perforating platforms, oil wells, pipelines and oil tankers, and the traces of economical development, forgotten promises, environmental threats and civil activism.