Pantelleria

The wild volcanic island of Pantelleria is often called the black pearl of the Mediterranean. The landscape is a perfect union of mountains and rocky beaches, with hot water springs atop mountain peaks and clear blue-green seas at their base. But oil drilling activities are on the rise in this region and threatening this unique volcanic island.

 / ©: Rampini/ WWF Itali
Pantelleria Coast
© Rampini/ WWF Itali
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© Rampini/ WWF Itali
Pantelleria is the largest volcanic satellite island situated in the Sicilian channel.

A distinct green tuff deposit that was produced during a volcanic eruption covers the entire island. Holocene eruptions have constructed pumice cones, lava domes and short block flows all over the region, which merge with man-made structures such as stone drywalls.

Its unique geographic location between the continents of Europe and Africa make is an apt resting spot for all migratory birds moving between these land masses.
No to oil drilling / ©: WWF Italy
© WWF Italy
SIGN WWF ITALY'S PETITION to say "No drilling in the Sicilian Channel, Yes to the Pantelleria protected area "

Pantelleria under threat

Oil drilling and exploration activities have been on the rise in the Mediterranean seabed, especially around islands like Pantelleria which have protection for its land but not the surrounding marine sea.

Three oil platforms are currently active in the Sicilian Channel, with an average annual production of 280,000 tons of crude oil extracted from 35 wells.

Permission has been granted to explore the presence of oil under the seabed and extract oil in several sites along the coast of Pantelleria.

Given the geological nature of the Mediterranean seabed which is prone to seismic activities, the ill effects of such activities are significantly larger than in any other region.
 / ©: Rampini/ WWF Itali
© Rampini/ WWF Itali

Impact of oil exploration

Seismic survey is one of the most invasive ways of detecting the presence of oil and natural gas under the sea and ocean floors.

The seismic induced waves inflict heavy damage on the environment, especially on marine biodiversity. The sound and vibrations have the potential to permanently damage hearing ability, reproduction and other important biological functions in marine animals.

Oil extraction activities will also expose this pristine region to risks of oil spills. The damage caused from such spills is extremely difficult to contain and expensive to clean up. The Sicilian Channel is the most productive waters in the Mediterranean Sea, with the entire fisheries industry depending on it. One oil spill in this region could lead to the collapse of the industry.

What you can do

WWF is calling on governments and companies to stop the expansion of oil drilling activities in the Sicilian Channel, especially around Pantelleria.

We need your support in making our voice heard and build a people’s movement to save this island. Pledge your support to the Seize Your Power campaign to let the government know, you do not want dirty energy at the cost of losing this precious and unique ecoregion.

Protecting Pantelleria

WWF is working towards establishing a Marine Protected Area around Pantelleria to ensure its seas are also protected from drilling activities. Our main objectives are to:

  1. Conduct research to define the threats of oil drilling in the Sicillian Channel and the Greater Mediterranean Sea.

  2. Communicate and raise awareness about the risks and implications of an oil spill in the Mediterranean.

  3. Advocate for oil and gas drilling activities to be conducted according to management plans using marine spatial planning (MSP).

  4. Accelerate the process to establish the Pantelleria Marine Protected Area (MPA).
 / ©: Rampini/ WWF Itali
Lago Specchio di Venere
© Rampini/ WWF Itali
Pantelleria at risk rel=
Pantelleria at risk
© WWF

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