OIL part II – The Black Gold of the Moratti Family

di Massimiliano Mazzotta 2011 Italia 70'




Oil production policy has always been a delicate issue for Italy, a country poor in fossil fuels. Before the possibility of producing energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power was known about, Italian state energy company ENI tried briefly in the 1950s to make a stand against the dominance of the powerful “Seven Sisters” by implementing a policy in Third World countries that was both aggressive and paternalistic. The death of Enrico Mattei in 1962 put paid to these efforts. Angelo Moratti – who had been favoured by Mattei – immediately adopted a different approach, and the creation of SARAS was heavily influenced by agreements entered into with Esso. After years of misinformation and inactivity – including on the part of the trade unions – the problem of the link between the oil, chemical and petrochemical industry and damage to the health of workers and local people was clearly established in the 1970s, thanks to the efforts of grassroots organisations involving workers, doctors and health professionals. The link was further proven and established at the court case brought against Enichem and Montedison in 1998 for the deaths and environmental damage caused by MVC and PVC processing by Petrolochimico at Porto Marghera. The company managers received a sentence on appeal in 2004. Studies carried out at Sarroch further confirmed a possible link between the presence of the industrial plant and tumours and respiratory diseases. Health and safety in the workplace are fundamental, particularly in industries dealing with a substance as dangerous and potentially devastating as petroleum. Four SARAS managers and the legal representative of subcontractor Comesa are indicted in a court case for the death of three Comesa workers on 26 May 2009, which is to be heard at the Court of Cagliari in April and May this year. According to the public prosecutors the tragedy was brought about by inadequate safety procedures. The FIOM-CGIL trade union is acting as plaintiff. As well as a “necessary” relationship with politics – in which the Moratti family has proven itself to be both conscientious and balanced, cleverly dividing itself between right and left – the family’s involvement in football has also been key to fostering popular consensus. But this fundamental part of our everyday life – and in fact of everyday life in the whole of the Western world – can lead us to forget that there may be a link between the profits of SARAS and the success of the Inter football team. This fact is even more disquieting when we see African children wearing their favourite team’s strip. In this way Africa is colonised twice over – the first time by plundering their raw materials, and the second time by invading their aspirations.