Petroceltic gives up on Adriatic prospecting (2)

No longer seeking permit to prospect off Tremiti Islands

(ANSA) - Rome, February 9 - Irish oil and gas company Petroceltic has formally given up seeking a prospecting permit in the southern Adriatic Sea off Italy's Tremiti Islands. The Tremiti are an archipelago located north of Puglia's Gargano Peninsula, and form part of the Gargano national park. Market conditions have changed since the company first filed for the permit nine years ago, Petroceltic said in a letter to the industry ministry. The ministry said the move "is a step back in response to strategic industrial needs, which the ministry acknowledges". Petroceltic, whose local subsidiary has been in Italy since 2005, added it remains committed to its other operations in Italy "within full respect of EU and State rules, according to the highest industry standards, with maximum transparency and in cooperation with local communities".
    Petroceltic Italia Srl does oil and gas prospecting in the central Adriatic Sea and in the Po Valley.
    Italian environmentalists have long been fighting against drilling in the Adriatic Sea.
    Italy's Constitutional Court last month gave the green light to a referendum on drilling for oil and gas in Italy, a decision welcomed by regional councils and environmental groups concerned about the effects of offshore drilling on marine ecosystems.
    The referendum will cover prospecting permits as well as already authorised drilling. It was proposed by regional assemblies who are objecting to drilling platforms because of worries about seismic stability and the environment.