Italian Referendum Fails to Stop Offshore Drilling
A referendum held in Italy on April 17 on whether oil and gas exploration should be banned within 12 miles (20km) of the coast failed to muster enough of a turnout.
Only 31.19% of eligible voters turned out, according to the national press. The threshold required to make the referendum binding was 50% of voters plus one vote.
Four months ago the government extended all existing 30-year concessions within 12 miles until their resources were depleted, while at the same time banning all future exploration and drilling in territorial waters. Voters had to decided if they wanted to revoke the extension.
Of the 15.8mn voters who did turn out, 85% voted in favour of revoking the extension, while 15% voted against and thereby backed the government.
Basilicata, the southern region between the heel and toe of Italy, was the only region where voter turnout topped 50% - but only just. According to business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, voter turnout there was 50.1%. The region is home to much of Italy's existing onshore oil production. Thus Sicily and all the regions along the Adriatic coast, where many of the contested oil and gas exploration licences are located, failed to muster the 50% voter turnout.