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Italy's Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo was the first European Union official to suggest a drilling ban to give nations around the Mediterranean Sea time to coordinate a drilling policy.
"A moratorium could be a right approach for potentially dangerous drilling...to give Europe time to define a new and specific strategy for the Mediterranean especially in light of the risk exposed by the Deepwater Horizon spill," Prestigiacomo wrote to the Financial Times.
BP has a rig in Libya's Gulf of Sirte, about 500 kilometers from Italian and Maltese territory. The first of five planned wells will be about 200 meters deeper than the Macondo well that spewed as much as 184 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months.