Italy, Malta seek accord on Mediterranean oil, gas exploration

7/15/2013

Italy, Malta seek accord on Mediterranean oil, gas exploration

BY LIAM MOLONEY

ROME -- The prime ministers of Italy and Malta said Monday they aim to reach an accord that will allow the two Mediterranean countries to define offshore areas open for hydrocarbon exploration, possibly allowing for joint work to be carried out.

"We are sure that this is the time that we will find an accord...or else nobody will reap the benefits," said Italian Premier Enrico Letta at a press conference in Rome with his Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat.

In recent years there have been large discoveries of hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus, which could lead to significant changes in demand patterns and boost royalties to public coffers.

"There is the possibility of joint exploration so that Italy and Malta don't waste time in bickering on the miles defining their borders," said Mr. Muscat at the press conference. The area is "promising," he added.

Malta and the Italian island of Sicily are located very close to one another. Both countries import most of the gas and oil they need.

Dow Jones Newswires

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