A few days ago, UK-based Mediterranean oil and Gas announced on several websites the doubling of its reserves for the Ombrina Mare field in the Adriatic waters off Abruzzo, Italy. Current estimates are at about 40 million barrels of oil: 12 are proven, 28 are probable.
MOG also claims that they have submitted plans for development of Ombrina Mare back in 2008 and that they expect to commence production in 2012, through one production platform, an FPSO, five wells and subsea pipelines. They also plan to furher their drilling activities in the future.
MOG has not disclosed that currently THEY DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO DRILL THE ADRIATIC. Their permits are pending and it is very likely they will be denied.
Indeed, MOG management has been less than candid regarding the huge opposition among residents against this and any and all drilling plans for the region of Abruzzo. MOG plans to drill 6 km - about 4 miles - from shore. Its concession proposal overlaps with fishing sanctuaries. The onshore area is part of the National Park "La costa dei trabocchi". All of us love this sea immensely and MOG is playing with fire by touching something that is so sacred to the Abruzzo people.
Antidrilling sentiments are widespead and virtually every major political, business, social, cultural and religious group has been vocal about its opposition to drilling. We have sent about 100 documents to the Ministry of the environment urging them not to approve MOG's plan. Among signatories: the Catholic Church, Confcommercio (the Union of Merchants), Assoturismo, The Province of Chieti, ten municipalities, the WWF, dozens of academics, medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, school children, soccer clubs. About 50,000 signatures have been gathered so far against all drilling plans for Abruzzo.
A huge protest day against MOG is set for April 18th 2010.
Initially MOG was going to use an onshore refinery to process its crude oil, the ill fated Miglianico project proposed by ENI. The refinery was never built due to opposition from us, the people. Prime Minister Berlusconi himself during a 2008 visit declared there would be no oil refineries in Abruzzo. So MOG changed its plans and proposed the FPSO, 10 km offshore, simply beacuse onshore facilities did nto exist and could not be built by law.
If we were so strong and succesful in stopping ENI - Italy's largest and partly state owned oil company, do you think we will idly sit and let Mr. Sergio Morandi and Mr. Micheal Bonte-Friedheim take our sea from us? ENI iteslf is divesting from Italy because people will not allow them to do as they please in a country that is too beautiful to be destroyed by low grade, sulphur laden crude oil - the bottom of the barrel in words of an ENI executive.
So, the bottom line is that in my personal opinion, investing with MOG or any minor company that wants to drill ecologically sensitive Italy is like throwing your money away.
Apart from the Miglianico oil project (Ortona, ENI) that is on indefinite hold, this writer - a physicist and professor of Mathematics who is part of the Sustanability Institute at her California Institute - has been instrumental in stopping oil projects in il Parco del Curone (Milan) where the Australian firm Po Valley had plans to drill. They packed up and left due to opposition from residents. Similarly in Monopoli (Bari) the Regional Tribunal for Puglia rescinded the drilling permits awarded to Northern Petroleum.
The people of Abruzzo, all 1 million of us, will do all we can to stop MOG.