Rome is expected to annul a ban on offshore oil and natural gas drilling enacted in the wake of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an official said.
The Italian government, before the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, allowed international oil companies to drill off the country's coast. Italian Sen. Francesco Ferrante told the Platts news service that the plans were risky.
"Not only are they not particularly beneficial economically speaking but they also pose significant environmental risk," he was quoted as saying.
Ferrante explained that lifting the ban would give drillers permission to operate in environmentally protected areas. Introducing the measure to lawmakers was "very imminent," he said.
Oil and natural gas companies have pressed the Italian government to open more areas for drilling to compensate for a moratorium on nuclear energy and disruptions of foreign natural gas supplies.
Italy received nearly 10 percent of its natural gas from the Greenstream natural gas pipeline before the Libyan war began in February 2011. Supplies, however, are nearly back to normal.