Italy Looks to Boost Oil Production by 150%

From The Guardian

By John Hooper

The view from the terrace behind the town hall in Corleto Perticara is as grand as any in Tuscany, taking in the majestic Sauro river valley and a line of towering hills that shepherd the river out to sea. But where a visitor might dream of building an idyllic second home, Rosaria Vicino, the town’s mayor, is picturing the line of well-head pumpjacks that will soon pepper the undulating slopes beyond the Sauro.

In May, Mario Monti’s non-party government in Rome gave the go-ahead for the development of the so-called Tempa Rossa field, whose 200m barrels of heavy, sulphurous petroleum lie within Vicino’s comune (borough). The French company Total has a 75% stake in Tempa Rossa. Shell has the remaining 25% interest in a field whose production capacity is expected to reach 50,000 barrels a day (b/d).

Oil is central to our development plans,” said Vicino fervently. “It is the element around which all our hopes revolve.”

Onshore oil and gas production is similarly central to the Italian government’s ambitious plan to lop €14bn (£11.2bn) off the nation’s annual €62bn bill for energy imports by 2020. The target is set in a proposed national energy plan that would be the first to be adopted in Italy for more than 20 years.

A draft, put out for consultation last month, sees some of the savings coming from increases in “green” (renewable) sources and “white” (efficiency) economies. But it also envisages a doubling of domestic oil and gas production. The government estimates the increase in output could provide Italy with 7% of its total energy requirements and create 25,000 new jobs.

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