Pollution in the Basento river, industrial area of Ferrandina, Matera.
The pipes are part of a bigger stream. Built in the last few decades, the pipeline goes below the ground of all the valley. These pipes are part of the fourth line directed to the C.O.V.A. (Acronym of the refinery in Viggiano).
The refinery provides the processed oil to the Apulian city of Taranto via another huge underground pipeline. There, the oil is shipped to foreign countries or used in the local area for civilian or industrial purposes.
Basento river, industrial area of Ferrandina, Matera. The area along the bank of the river is contaminated. The natural colors of a typical river environment are altered. Red gutters on the banks, a black layer a few millimeters deep in the sand on the banks, blackened bottom stones, brown foams and a sense of vertigo can be felt around the whole area.
Outcrop of re-injection water along the banks of the Basento, industrial area of Ferrandina. The re-injected waters are such because the oil companies instead of facing the high waste disposal costs, resulting from the de-sulfurization process of the extracted oil or gas, are re-injected into the subsoil inside the exhausted wells. The morphological structure of the oil field presents a large underground chamber where in order there is: a layer of methane, one of oil and finally of water. The wastewater, injected at very high pressure in the subsoil, regularly and by natural movements of the soil, naturally flows on the ground together with water and in different places. So everything that is present in the subsoil comes to the surface again.
“It is not the problem of the activity, we know we need the oil, we move our cars, we use plastic, and so we rely on it. Then if we consider the renewable energies, the oil becomes suddenly useless and the things we have now are old, or in the wrong place. However, we as Lucans became used to the old sold as new. We believe in everything, we always worked in the mud, worked hard, and anything that might be a relief is well accepted. I would prefer to be a security guard rather than dig or pasture the flock.”
Platform for the construction of part of the extractive infrastructure. The area is affected by the “Concession Val d’Agri”, granted by DM on 28 December 2015. In the permit area fall also areas of the Lucanian Val d’Agri Lagonegrese Appennino Park, SIC (Sites of Community Interest) and SPAs (Areas of Special Interest). Both acronyms concern the attention and protection for the local fauna and flora. Location, municipality of Corleto Perticara, Potenza.
Monument to the fallen in the square of the municipality of Corleto Perticara, Potenza. The strange coincidence that on the one hand sees the increase in the extraction activity and on the other the increase in deaths due to diseases such as tumors and leukemia, starts to worry the population. Until a few decades ago, the region was not provided with a tumor register. The data resulting from the screening and the diagnosis shows an increase in the diseases at an exponential level. What do people die today for?
July the 29th, 1927: With the decree no.1443, the former Italian Kingdom stated the beginning of the oil era for southern Italy. Involved in this area was the Basilicata. The huge subterrain oil fields lead the oil companies to carry large studies all over the territory. Having bought areas of land from the local farmer for few hundred Liras, the researchers started to drill the ground. Sensors and explosives made their calculations in regards to the economic potential of the ground. The first prospections were unsuccessful. Reaching various kilometers under the ground, most of the time the companies could not find what they expected. Despite the soaking into uranium, the rotating heads of the drills could not break the rocks. Various derricks have been abandoned due to technical impossibilities.
Just below the escarpment is the well of Montegrosso, in the “Grancia Caterina” State-owned Forest. 1968, the first research permit for Montedison is released. 1994, a new permit is issued to Fiat Rimi and Petrex Spa for liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. The main perforations began in August 1998. In 1999 the well is closed and judged incident. However, the well is located in the area subject to landscape restrictions, Law 431/1985.
In 2000 the UNMIG (National Mining Office for Hydrocarbons and Georgesources) urged the Basilicata Region to take a decision on the agreement promoted by British Gas, Eni Spa, Mobil Oil Italian Spa, Totalfina Italia Spa to reopen the activities in the site. 2007, On the new authorizations just released, the Public Prosecutor’s Office pronounces on the environmental pollution in the area to be reclaimed.
In 2010 the Lucan association OLA (Ambientalist Lucan Organization) appealed to the municipal resolution no. 1566 of 5/11/2007 which provides for the implementation of the original state of the places, calls for the final closure of the wells of the research permit.
Natural source of Hydrocarbons.
Oil well in Val d’Agri. The beginning of a new era. The well is located behind the hospital of Villa d’Agri. The permit to which this well belongs is called “Concession Val d’Agri”, granted for D.M on 28th December 2015 and is the result of the merging of existing permits. The owners are Eni S.p.a. and Shell Italia E & P S.p.a.
The area concerned has an extension of 660.15 km2 and involves the municipalities of: Anzi, Abriola, Armento, Calvello, Corleto Perticara, Grumento Nova, Laurenziana, Marsico Nuovo, Marsicovetere, Moliterno, Montemurro, Paterno, San Chirico Raparo, San Martino d’Agri, Sarconi, Sasso di Castalda, Spinoso, Tramutola and Viggiano of the province of Potenza.
Into the woods
Due to illegal spills, in this natural pool the sludge resulting from the extraction process is coming out on the surface following the path of the water source. Walking in this area after a few minutes you can feel the effects of exhalations such as dizziness, itchy throat, difficulty breathing. Location Fosso la Noce, Pisticci, Matera.
Oil extraction, south Italy, pollution, anthropology enquiry
DDL 133/2014, known as “Unblock Italy”.
Values of the water source next to the refinery in Viggiano (C.O.V.A.):
SAR (Amount of sodium in the water meant to be used in the agriculture) measured 92710 mg/l– Limit 10 mg/l; B.O.D.5 (Biological Oxigen Demand) measured 80 mg/l – Limit 20 mg/l; C.O.D. (Chemical Oxigen Demand) measured 340.5 mg/l– Limit 100 mg/l. Both B.O.D. 5 and C.O.D. are essential to ensure the correct water regeneration to warrinty that the water is usable for both human and agriculture purpose. An element that’s corrupted and mixed with others, such as heavy metals and acid, become the transporter of these substances. Sulphate measured 687.27 mg/l – Limit 500 mg/l; Chloride measured 6925.290 mg/l – Limit 200 mg/l ; Boron measured 15678 mg/l – Limit 0.5 mg/l.
The refinery has to purify the air and water in each step of the refining process.
Analysis: Centro Analisi Chimiche SAS. Requested by: Liberiamo la Basilicata.
“Those who fight for the land, still fights for their identity”
The Hypericum or St. John’s wort. Known for its medicinal properties, it is part of traditional medicine because it has antidepressive and antiviral properties. The maximum flowering point was established on 24 June, the day of the harvest. It was used to adorn the protective image of St. John the Baptist and is also known as Devil-kicker. The crushed flower has a red color.
Location San Mauro Forte, Matera. Reinjection waters emerge from the underground into the torrent below the village.
Containment walls of the damaged oil well in Montegrosso. The environment reacts strongly to the territorial transformations necessary for the construction of the gigantic mining units. Moreover, the seismic nature of the territory is not a factor of reliability.
2011. With Management Determination of the Basilicata Basin Authority of 13 May 2011, n.82 the technical commission was appointed to issue hydrogeological compatibility opinions - pursuant to art. 22 of the regulations implementing the plan to extract the hydrogeological risk for the Monte Grosso Post Project located in the municipality of Brindisi di Montagna (PZ), loc. Casone Matera - application for applicability pursuant to art. 22 NDA of the PAI for the construction of a Monte Grosso vertical exploration well 2 with a linear structure that sees Medoilgas Italia SpA as the applicant. The determination was published on the BUR Basilicata n.16 of 1/6/2011. The Ola recalls that for the well there had been several interventions of requisition and there would be environmental incompatibilities due to the fact, that it rises in the state-owned area Gracia Caterina Regional Demanial Forest, in which the hydrogeological and environmental constraints are in force.
We are in a time where our participation as social and active part must be constant and effective. Art can support the change, art has to be again the other side of the population. This means reconnecting them to the place where the real life is. Art has to support the curiosity, be the shield of truth and the base for criticism. The politic must be interrogated, the economy has to pay its dues.
Extract from the 133/2014 law, better known as “Unblock Italy”.
“In the last years, numbers of biologists considered the use of the hemp to help the earth in those zones where the soil pollution is too high. This plant has the capacity to reconvert and transform the toxic elements and enrich the humus. It is not the only one able. There are many, even some particular trees and other ones like particular species of seaweed. Hemp can cure the land and be used to produce many things. Food, oil, textiles and many other objects. Among this, paper too. It has been discovered that even a kind of plastic can be obtained from this plant. Well, it seems to be the natural substitute of the oil that is largely used for many things today.” N.C.
“The area in the valley is now living. This is with thanks to the company Eni, since it arrived here. What I am saying is that almost all the activities here are related to it. The small industries, the maintenance enterprises, the laundries, restaurants, caffes, as you can see everything here grew up around it. You can’t imagine what would happen if the refinery one day would close. In this period, when it is temporary closed, workers do not get their salary. They stay at home. Look, all the fields around here are almost deserted, few of them are still active but the farmers are moving. Maybe in five years, the agriculture around the refinery will finish. Pollution is one of the reasons, but who is willing to do such hard work? They are expanding year after year and this means more jobs and less farming.”
The pool was used in the past to house extraction mud. Location Montegrosso, Potenza.
2013. With managerial determination of the forest office and protection of the territory of the environment department of the Basilicata Region n. 74 of 29 January 2013, published in the official newsletter of the Basilicata Region of 16 February 2013 n. 4, has been granted to Medoilgas, holder of the research permit Serra San Bernardo together with Eni and Total, the extension of the authorization, pursuant to the R.D.L. 3267/23, for the research work “Serra San Bernardo” conservation and safety maintenance of the “Monte Grosso” mining station in the area of he Municipality of Brindisi Montagna. In this regard, the Ola asks the Basilicata Region to deny the extension of the agreement to the Medoilgas company for the “Serra San Bernardo” permit and the authorization for the drilling of the new Monte Grosso 2 oil well in a protected regional area where there are constraints landscape and hydrogeological.
Work in progress near the Corleto Perticara refinery. The environmental impact of the oil industry is considerable, the morphology of the territory is changing due to the constant work of expansions of the infrastructure related to the extraction of crude oil.
Holy mountain, holy nature
Temple dedicated to the Holy Mary. The small structure is dug into a Calanco near Ferrandina. This particular type of rock is very friable and particularly undergoes weathering.
View of Val d’Agri, the area that gave its name to the mining permit for D.M on 28 December 2015. This plain is home to the Viaggiano refinery, located a few kilometers from the Pertusillo dam. The reservoir provides water to part of Basilicata and Puglia.
The natural devotion of Basilicata, as a rural economy, has forged the locals' identity with the nature and of the land. This relation is not just in the economy, but in the ancient religious traditions. Magic rituals, witches, spirits, masks and sometimes real facts built the identity of the Lucans. The progressive turning of the world into a wide industrialised surface is regularly destroying any differences and cultures. It establishes a singular global identity. The struggle to accept such change is not for the change in itself, but how the changes are affecting the reality.
Oil and Magic. 1878, Paris, Universal Exhibition. An ampoule containing water and oil was exhibited for the first time in a foreign country. The astonishment of such substance was the event that moved the focus of the international interests on the the region. In 1927, with the decree no.1443 of the former Italian Kingdom, the exploration of the underground oil field started.
Myths and legends about people and places are part of the current culture. Esoteric rituals, magic formulas and pagan prayers are used by old women and men to free themselves from misfortune, and maintain order in the community. In the image of the devil one wants to enclose the whole series of mystical and pagan beliefs that are part of the Lucanian territory. The sorcerer’s task is to cancel the negative effect of the influence of men or malignant beings, that cure diseases and sorcery. On the locals all the negativities, physical or abstract, can be traced back to the action of men or entities, which with the help of black magic become bearers of death.
Entrance to the oil derrick “Cerro Falcone 1”. Deep in the woods along a solitary road in the mountains the major Italian oil company is establishing extraction point everywhere on the regional territory. The new geography of the land is turning into a new configuration, industrial spots here and there, close and far to villages and hospitals are composing the new landscape. Calvello, Potenza.
“The mask is called the “Hermit”. It belongs to our carnival. The costume had changed its original meaning in the last years that is since our organisation decided to revive the tradition. It had two meanings. It represented the poor villager that due to economic problems was unable to leave the village and buy a decent dress for him. So he dressed himself with ivy and knocked on doors asking for food. The second is more coherent, with the actual interpretation. It is the connection with nature; the Hermit as a symbol of the relationship between human and nature and with the symbol of our village”. R.P.
The Pertusillo dike is the biggest of the region and provides water to Basilicata and Apulia. The C.O.V.A. is located a few kilometers away. This is result of the water analysis:
Total hydrocarbons measured 0.900 mg/l – limit 0.05mg/l.
As well as the huge amount of water the region provides oil to the Apulia. The extracted oil is stored in huge bunkers on the Apulia coast waiting to be shipped or used in the local area.
Analysis: Centro Analisi Chimiche SAS. Requested by: Liberiamo la Basilicata.
Silos for the temporary containment of crude oil. Corleto Perticara, Potenza.
The new refinery is rising near the town of Corleto Perticara. The construction of this structure, like others scattered throughout the territory, involves the disfigurement of the regional landscape.
Infrastructures around the new refinery in Corleto. The pipes will carry the oil to the refinery directly from the oil derricks placed in the nearby mountainous area.
Extract from the 133/2014 law, better known as “Unblock Italy”.
River Basento. Industrial area of Ferrandina, Matera.
Andrea Spartaco is recording the water of river Basento due to their strange red coulour.
The fluids injected are coming out of the ground, following the path of the water springs. The red liquid is composed of a number of chemical substances and heavy metals deriving from the transformation of the oil into petrol. The legislation asks the oil companies to purify the liquids and secure any zones of the territory where the extractions are finished. Usually the depleted oil derricks are used to dump these liquids.
These are the values of the chemical composition of the Torrent Salandrella which flows among the fields and flows into the Taranto’s Gulf.