Crude Trumps Olive Oil in Italy's Basilicata Region

Reserves in Basilicata could make Italy Europe’s No. 3 producer
An oil rig, operated by Eni, in Val d’Agri in Basilicata Photograph by Alessandra Migliaccio/Bloomberg

When executives of Italian oil company Eni look out over the verdant hills of Val d’Agri, their primary focus isn’t on the ancient olive groves that cover the valley’s flanks but the billion-plus barrels of crude that lie beneath. Marco De Biasi will take the olive oil. “We need to stick to things that will still be with us once all the oil is pumped out,” says De Biasi, head of the regional branch of Legambiente, an Italian environmental group. “Sustainable development, real career paths for our children. Not exploitation, money, and then goodbye.”

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