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Oil drilling project Ombrina Mare, Abruzzo, Italy

Peoples' mobilization stopped oil drilling concessions in the Adriatic sea and push for the creation of ecotourism based activities and a national park. Meanwhile, UK based oil company Rockhopper launches arbitration claim against Italy

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Since the 1950s, the stretch of coast in the Abruzzo region has been of interest to oil companies. First AGIP (1955-1970), then GULF Italy (1970-1973) and the Italian branch of ELF (1975-2000) tried to get permission for drilling but eventually both withdrew. Only the construction of the Ombrina Mare 1 well went forward. In 2002, the Gas Company of Concordia S.p.A. submitted an application for a research permit (d.491B.R.-GC), which was obtained in 2005 (B.R269.GC) for a duration of 6 years [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil drilling project Ombrina Mare, Abruzzo, Italy
State or province:Abruzzo
Location of conflict:Costa dei Trabocchi (between Ortona and Torino di Sangro)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to the estimates of the company, about 200 tons of combustion fumes will be released into the atmosphere every day; in the few months of drilling and production tests, 14 thousand tons of waste will be produced between drilling muds and more, equivalent to a cubic surface of 35 meters X 24 meters X 43.50 meters high above average sea level (like a 10-storey building ), related to the 4-6 wells that should be drilled in a project start-up period of 6-9 months. In this phase alone, 14,258.44 tons of waste would be produced, mainly drilling mud. The platform will be connected to a large Panamax-class ship re-adapted to become a real floating refinery, called Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO), positioned with anchors 10 km away from the coast. The ship would have the following dimensions: 320 meters long by 33 wide and 54 meters high (the sides will rise from the sea for 22 meters.

Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/10/2007
Company names or state enterprises:ROCKHOPPER from United Kingdom
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment, Region of Abruzzo, Municipalities of Francavilla, Ortona, San Vito Marina, Rocca San Giovanni, Fossacesia, Torino di Sangro, Casalbordino, Vasto, San Salvo.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:* Forum Abruzzese dei Movimenti per l’Acqua Pubblica - * Coordinamento Nazionale No Triv - * EmergenzAmbienteAbruzzo - * Centro Sociale Occupato Autogestito Zona Ventidue - * Costituente per il Parco Nazionale della Costa Teatina - * Associazione Nuovo Senso Civico - - * Abruzzo Beni Comuni - * Stop Biocidio Abruzzo -
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Proposal and development of alternatives:The mobilizers demand the scrapping of the project and the development of an economy based on ecotourism in the National Park of the Teatina Coast (Parco Nazionale della Costa Teatina) and other landscape amenities of the territory.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Thanks to the mobilizations, the project concession has been revoked. The company sued Italy through ISDS mechanism so alert should remain high.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[3] Decreto legislativo 30 luglio 1999 n. 300
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Legge 9 gennaio 1991, n. 9

Norme per l'attuazione del nuovo piano energetico nazionale: aspetti istituzionali, centrali idroelettriche ed elettrodotti, idrocarburi e geotermia, autoproduzioni e disposizioni fiscali
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Decreto Legislativo 25 novembre 1996, n. 625

Attuazione della direttiva 94/22/CEE relativa alle condizioni di rilascio e di esercizio delle autorizzazioni alla prospezione, ricerca e coltivazione di idrocarburi.
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Legge 21 luglio 1967, n. 613

Ricerca e coltivazione degli idrocarburi liquidi e gassosi nel mare territoriale e nella piattaforma continentale e modificazioni alla Legge 11 gennaio 1957, N.6, sulla ricerca e coltivazione degli idrocarburi liquidi e gassosi
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Decreto del Presidente della Repubblica 18 aprile 1994, n. 484

Regolamento recante la disciplina dei procedimenti di conferimento dei permessi di prospezione o ricerca e di concessione di coltivazione di idrocarburi in terraferma e in mare.
[click to view]

Decreto Ministeriale 26 aprile 2010

Approvazione disciplinare tipo per i permessi di prospezione e di ricerca e per le concessioni di coltivazione di idrocarburi liquidi e gassosi in terraferma, nel mare territoriale e nella piattaforma continentale.
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Legge 23 agosto 2004, n. 239

Riordino del settore energetico, nonché delega al Governo per il riassetto delle disposizioni vigenti in materia di energia ( come modificata ed integrata dalla Legge 23 luglio 2009, n. 99 (;99~art27%21vig=) , dal Decreto Legge 22 giugno 2012, n. 83 (;83%21vig=) convertito con modificazioni dalla Legge 7 agosto 2012, n. 134 e dal Decreto Legge 12 settembre 2014, n. 133.
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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[1] Permesso di Ricerca B.R269.GC
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[2] Blog di Emergenzambiente
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[4] Appello manifestazione Lanciano 23 aprile 2015
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[click to view]

Sito di Caffè Abruzzo - Istituzioni Politica Cultura giuridica
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Sito di Peacelink Abruzzo
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Sito di Legambiente Abruzzo
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Sito del WWF Abruzzo
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Decreto legislativo 30 luglio 1999 n. 300
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4. Appello manifestazione Lanciano 23 aprile 2015
[click to view]

3. Decreto legislativo 30 luglio 1999 n. 300
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video interview #OmbrinaMare #StopISDS Dirty Oil vs Beautiful Abruzzo: The fight against ISDS in Italy
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Other comments:Read the case in the Italian platform written by local activists:
Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, based on the data sheet published in the Italian platform (
Last update13/05/2021
Conflict ID:4573
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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