The main Petroleum Exploration and Production Law in Italy was promulgated in 1957. Among several purviews, this law disposes that the Operator of a given Mining Right (Exploration Permit or Exploitation Concession) has to provide the State Mining Authority (UNMIG - Ufficio Nazionale Minerario per Gli Idrocarburi of the Ministry of Economic Development), during the life of the said Mining Right, with periodic reports illustrating the activity being conducted. Such reports must also be accompanied by technical documents (i.e. maps, seismic lines, well logs, etc.). In over fifty years, an important base of documents has been accumulated, all of which are in hard copy paper form. This represents the entire record of the petroleum exploration and production history in Italy. Additionally, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law stipulates that one year after the cessation of a given Mining Right the provided data be made available in the public domain, nevertheless for researchers, access to this data was quite difficult: This arose as a result of logistical complications (this was especially true for non-nationals) in the first place and in the second place, out of a necessity to know, a priori, the name of the Mining Right(s) which had existed previously and the area of interest, as all information is linked to the file of the permit in which they have been acquired. Knowledge and use of this mass of information is being slowly achieved, particularly in the academic environment, however, in order to surmount this difficulty and provide even greater accessibility to the data, a joint project was promoted by Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, Assomineraria and Società Geologica Italiana. The operational procedure essentially consists of: - Collection of technical documents of individual permits - Digitisation of documents - Classification of data as per technical categories - Geo-referencing of data - Web-loading of data with the ESRI web-GIS software The first phase of the project was conducted and achieved in 2006: It was decided to give priority to the "raw data", composite well logs and seismic lines. To date, approximately 1,600 composite logs and several thousands seismic lines can be found on the web-sites of the project partners. The second phase commenced early this year, and this phase is expected to take one year to complete. The aims of this phase are to complete digitisation, classification and loading of all remaining documents ( i.e. texts, maps, well velocity data, etc.).


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