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Book Chapter

The history of the upstream oil and gas industry in Italy

By
Ferdinando Franco Cazzini
Ferdinando Franco Cazzini
Department of Environment and Earth Sciences, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

The aim of this work is to provide a synthetic history of the Italian upstream oil and gas industry, from its early start until today. Among European countries, Italy has one of the richest abundance of evidence of hydrocarbon seepages. The populations that have inhabited the country during the various historical periods took advantage of these phenomena, harvesting oil and bitumen from the surface. A testimony of such activity is an ingot of purified bitumen dated as first century AD found in central Italy. In the nineteenth century, seepages attracted the interest of oil companies that began to explore the Apennines. The drilling of the first modern oil well was realized in 1860 near Ozzano (Parma). The first onshore seismic reflection survey was acquired in 1940. The well Caviaga-1 was drilled in 1944 near Milan, discovering a gas field of 12.5 Bcm. It was one of the major European gas fields and it marked the starting point of the modern Italian petroleum industry. The widespread use of seismic reflection triggered an intense period of exploration. The first material oil discoveries were Ragusa (in 1954) and Gela (in 1956), both in Sicily. By the mid-1950s, the first offshore seismic survey started in the Adriatic Sea. In 1959, the drilling of well Gela 21, the first offshore well in Europe, boosted further exploration possibilities. During the following decades, the level of exploration and production (E&P) activities remained high, while from the beginning of the third millennium there has been a general slowdown. Since 2007, the level of exploration drilling has dropped to under 10 wells per year. In 2014, this negative trend was further confirmed with no exploratory wells drilled. The causes of this decline derive from the exploration maturity of the biogenic gas play and from the heavy bureaucratic processes involved in obtaining authorization. However, the main cause is probably the strong opposition from environmentalist associations to any kind of petroleum activities.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

History of the European Oil and Gas Industry

J. Craig
J. Craig
Eni Upstream & Technical Services, Italy
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F. Gerali
F. Gerali
University of Oklahoma, USA
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F. MacAulay
F. MacAulay
Echo Energy plc, UK
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R. Sorkhabi
R. Sorkhabi
University of Utah, USA
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Geological Society of London
Volume
465
ISBN electronic:
9781786203656
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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