Today, Ravenna it’s Italy’s largest base for the offshore oil and gas industry. AGIP (now ENI) began offshore hydrocarbon exploration from Ravenna in the 1950s, using a seismometer spread taken by the Western on its return from the Persian Gulf. AGIP’s first offshore platform, Ravenna Mare 1, entered production in 1960. This was soon followed by others, marking the beginning of a new industry in a city which until then had lived off agriculture, tourism and some activity as a minor commercial port.
By the 1970s, AGIP was producing approximately 25 billion cubic metres of methane per year: one third of Italy’s requirements. It was during this period that various multinationals opened offices in Ravenna, while local companies diversified their activities at the service of AGIP and new companies were founded.
The first of these was Rana, a firm specializing in underwater work founded by two diving enthusiasts, Faustolo Rambelli and Franco Nanni. Mario Bambini converted his fishing fleet into service boats, gaining an important position in this field. Franco Fiore, the owner of a shipping agency, began specializing as the representative of foreign oil and gas exploration companies. These examples were followed by many new companies specializing in supplies and services for the oil and gas industry, such as Italmet, now a leading supplier of offshore mooring technology, and Ferrari, which produced components for industrial equipment and flange manufacturers.