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Homepage > Company

Enrico Mattei

Enrico Mattei, a key character in the history of both the Italian and international industries, was born in 1906. Passion, strategic vision, innovation: Enrico Mattei's legacy has allowed Eni to become the world's sixth largest oil company and to play a leading role in the oil industry.

 

  • Introducing Enrico MatteiIntroducing Enrico Mattei
  • The BiographyThe Biography
  • The ChronologyThe Chronology
  • the Bibliographythe Bibliography
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In the uncertain period immediately after the civil war in Italy, Enrico Mattei was given the task of winding up Agip's affairs and arranging for most of its energy assets to be privatised. He chose to disregard this instruction, seeking instead to achieve what he saw as the fundamental objective of giving Italy its own national oil and gas company to meet the energy needs of households and SMEs at prices significantly lower than those charged by the international oligopolies.

Mattei turned himself into a charismatic figure at Eni. A brilliant networker, he assembled a gifted team of actors on the international business stage. This was in itself a significant contribution to Italian diplomacy overseas,Enrico Mattei  quite apart from the benefits deriving from the company's more technical strengths. Mattei was one of the first Italians to develop a frontier business mentality and a genuine respect for other cultures. He had grasped that no international strategy would be possible without extensive knowledge of the individual countries Eni was intending to explore. In this respect, Eni's divergence from normal practice was an exception rather than the rule in international business, so much so that its policies at times seemed an affront to commonsense. Mattei stood for a way of thinking about Italy that was visionary enough to transform a defeated agricultural country into an advanced industrial nation with a profitable state-owned energy sector.

The most valuable of Mattei's bequests to posterity is the ability to imagine the future. We must use this ability to meet today and tomorrow's challenges, renewing on a daily basis our commitment to the energy that enables all of us to develop and grow.

The gas plant at Caviaga: a visit from Ministry of Industry Campilli

Enrico Mattei is born in Acqualagna, in the province of Pesaro, on 29 April 1906. He is the second of his father Antonio and mother Angela Galvani’s five children. The family is of modest means: his father, a sergeant in the Carabinieri. With Antonio’s promotion to warrant officer, the Mattei family moves to Matelica in province of Macerata.

After infant school Enrico goes to a boarding school in Vasto, enrolling as a student in the technical middle school. The family straightened circumstances and his father’s rigid discipline make him eager to leave home and win his economic independence.
Enrico’s father finds him a job in a bed-making factory in Scuriatti. His first task is to smooth the metal for the bed frames with sandpaper; on 1923 he becomes an apprentice at the Fiore tannery in Matelica. Mattei’s career at the tannery is meteoric. He is promoted from factory hand to chemical assistant and then to laboratory chief at the age of only twenty. He also manages to set up a fabric shop for his mother. After military service he returns to Matelica and becomes the tannery owner’s chief assistant.
They soon begin to feel the effects of the general economic crisis and business goes from bad to worse. The Fiore tannery closes.
Mattei moves to Milan, instead he develops his business by setting up his first factory in Milan with his brother and sister. The small workshop produces oil-based emulsifiers for the tanning and textile industries. In 1934 he sets up Industria Chimica Lombarda.
He marries Greta Paulas, in Vienna on 1936.
Mattei gets an accountancy qualification and enrols at the Catholic University. In May 1943 he meets Giuseppe Mattei, moments of relaxSpataro, who introduces him into anti-Fascist circles in Milan. After 25 July he and Boldrini join partisan groups in the mountains around Matelica.

Back to Milan he resumes contact with the local Christian Democrats. Impressed by organisational and military skills, they put him in command of their Freedom Volunteer Corps. In 1944 a North Italian military command of the CLNAI is set up, in which Mattei participates on behalf of the Christian Democrats.

In the uncertain period immediately after the civil war in Italy, Enrico Mattei was given the task of winding up Agip’s affairs and arranging for most of its energy assets to be privatised. He chose to disregard this instruction, seeking instead to achieve what he saw as the fundamental objective of giving Italy its own national oil and gas company to meet the energy needs of households and SMEs at prices significantly lower than those charged by the international oligopolies.

Mattei doubled drilling and made the most of mineral research in the Po Valley, building the alliances necessary, inside the government and the parties, to ensure his goals were reached. After long and tortuous negotiations that had begun in 1947 - among those who wanted to defend private enterprise and those who dreamed of a significant role for the state in the management of the economy - with the creation, in 1953 of Eni, Mattei managed to establish the strategic nature of energy for Italian economic growth and to inspire confidence in the possible miracle of energy independence. On 27 October, 1962 Mattei’s Morane Saulnier 760 crashes at Bascapè in the province of Pavia as it flies from Catania to Milan Linate. Mattei, the pilot Irnerio Bertuzzi and the American journalist William McHale are killed.

Sources
AGIP, 70 anni di storia,  Roma 1995
AGIP,
Storia dell'Agip (1936-1948)
AGIP,
Mattei e l'Agip. Un album di famiglia, 1986
M. BOLDRINI,
Enrico Mattei, Enciclopedia del petrolio
M. COLITTI, Energia e sviluppo in Italia. La vicenda di Enrico Mattei, De Donato, Bari 1979
M. COLITTI,
Enrico Mattei, Il Parlamento italiano
M. MAGINI, L'Italia e il petrolio tra storia e cronologia, Mondadori
C. MOFFA,
Enrico Mattei. Contro l'arrembaggio al petrolio e al metano. Una vita per l'indipendenza e lo sviluppo dell'Italia, del Medio Oriente e dell'Africa, Aracne, Roma 2006-03-06
I. MONTANELLI,
Stampa e oro nero, vol. XXXV, Il Gatto Selvatico, Roma 1963
I. PIETRA,
Mattei. La pecora nera, SugarCo, Milano 1987
A. TRECCIOLA (ed.),
Enrico Mattei, 1945-1953. Scritti e discorsi, pubblicato a cura della Città di Matelica 1982

Downloadable documents

Mattei's Eni

Sources are listed at the end of the page

1945: There is disagreement over the future of Agip. Senior management produces a report that speaks of "concentration" and "liquidation". Mattei is put in charge of liquidating the company. As instructed, Mattei, now starts negotiating the sell-off of Agip plant and facilities, but conferring with technicians Mattei wins the trust of the company's oil experts and geologists and does everything he can to instil pride and confidence in the company's offices and its future. Mattei manages to halt the liquidation of Agip and on September 1 joins the Board of Directors. He becomes joint vice-president of Agip on 31 October.

1946: Mattei realises that Caviaga is the key to Italy's economic and social recovery. Drilling prospecting in the Po Valley resumes. Hopes are pinned on Caviaga 2 and, indeed, large reserves of the much-sought methane are discovered, even if the drilling policy is seen as unrealistic and unlikely to yield significant results.

1947: The production potential of Caviaga 2 reawakens the interest of private oil companies. In this year alone, 421 Italian and foreign companies apply for drilling rights in the Po Valley. Mattei resigns as vice-president on 9 May and stays on as a director.
Mattei si dimette da vicepresidente il 9 maggio, rimanendo semplice consigliere.

1948: On 10 June the government appoints Agip's new board of directors. Boldrini is president and Mattei joint vice-president, swinging control over the company's management permanently in his favour. One of the new board's first decisions is to resume drilling using every means at its disposal.

1949: The Cortemaggiore 2 well discovers gas in January, but despite the abundance of the reserves there are no immediate market prospects. But with amazing speed Mattei conceives and builds a network of gas pipelines in the Po Valley capable of supplying the industrial furnaces of Lombardy's largest companies with methane. Conflict between the supporters of privatisation and state ownership flares up again. On 22 April the industry minister presents in parliament a draft bill regulating the oil and gas industry. It proposes that private companies should be free to search for oil and gas in the Po Valley. On 13 June, when minister Vanoni is visiting Cortemaggiore, the longed-for crude gushes from the well at last.

1950: With the Caviaga, Ripalta and Cortemaggiore wells already producing gas, a new methane deposit is discovered at Cornegliano after a period of intensive exploration in which around forty wells are drilled.

1951: On 13 July Segni presents an ENI bill in parliament on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

1952: At Mattei's urging, the Agip subsidiary Mineraria Somala is set up, marking the company's return to overseas operations after the forced interruption of the war.

1953: On 21 January the Senate approves the law that creates ENI and enables it to take over Agip. ENI's sheer complexity is something totally new for Italian politicians and entrepreneurs of the time. The famous six-legged dog becomes its logo. The original competition-winning design had only four legs, but Mattei had another two added to make the dog a "six-legged friend of four-wheeled people".

1954: Eleven gas deposits are discovered in the Po Valley and two in Sicily. At the end of the year Mattei, who sees Egypt as an interesting area for oil exploration and its leader as a "new man", is granted an audience with President Nasser of Egypt. They soon reach agreement.

1955: To carry out its operations in Egypt, Agip acquires a major holding in IEOC, which is already operating in the country and discovered two oil deposits.

1956: Mattei creates Agip Nucleare, which designs a gas-cooled natural uranium power station with the aid of a British company. Agip develops and expands its overseas trading operations. Mattei sponsors a new daily, Il giorno, to fight off criticism of the company, himself and his political policies.

1957: A new law governing hydrocarbon exploration and production In Italy comes into force. IEOC discovers its third petroleum deposit . An agreement is made with to set up the Italo-Iranian company Sirip. Agip Mineraria agrees to fund exploration while Sirip agrees to develop and exploit any reserves that are found. An additional clause stipulates that fifty per cent of Sirip's net profits will go to the Iranian government, and the other fifty per cent will be divided equally between Agip Mineraria and NIOC. The result is that, for the first time, an oil-producing country secures for itself a profit of around 75%, significantly better than the fifty-fifty formula already regarded as "revolutionary", and is also actively involved in the production process. This type of agreement has come to be known as the Mattei Formula. In March Mattei has talks in Tripoli with the Libyan prime minister Mustafa Ben Halim and signs an agreement for an oil concession in the Fezzan area.

1958: Agip develops its business in Iran, Somalia, Egypt and, for the first time, in Morocco. ENI starts refining abroad as well as in Italy, leading to continuous enlargement and improvement of its Irom and Stanic refineries. Work starts on a nuclear power station at Latina, completed in 1962.

1959: The Gela Mare 21 platform starts offshore drilling for the first time in Europe. Oil exploration begins in Sudan.

1960: The most important of the year's fourteen discoveries is the Ravenna Mare find, Europe's first offshore natural gas field. Agip signs its first agreement in Tunisia, and Mattei starts canvassing for a gas agreement with Algeria.

1961: Sitep, an oil company owned 50-50 by Agip and the Tunisian government, is set up. Work starts on an oil pipeline in Central Europe. Mattei, the brain behind the operation, brings in Snam, Snam Progetti and Saipem to design and build it. In accordance with Mattei's wishes, ENI signs a long-term agreement with the USSR to import millions of tons of crude annually at an exceptionally low price in exchange for Italian finished goods, creating an outlet for some of ENI's chemical, mechanical and textile products and Snam Progetti's engineering and design capability. Strangled by the Seven Sisters' pricing policies, Mattei has had no option but to turn to Moscow. His agreement with the USSR is controversial, however, and unleashes a furious row.

1962: On 8 January, before taking off for Morocco with Mattei, the pilot discovers during a routine check that a screwdriver has been fixed to some sheet-metal tubing inside the plane with adhesive tape. The heat from the engine would have dissolved the adhesive, causing the screwdriver to fall into the engine and make it seize up. Mattei fears for his safety. Concluding that Sifar (Servizio Informazioni Forze Armate), the military intelligence organisation, can no longer be trusted, he employs a group of former partisans as bodyguards.
On 27 October Mattei's Morane Saulnier 760 crashes at Bascapè in the province of Pavia as it flies from Catania to Milan Linate. Mattei, the pilot, Irnerio Bertuzzi, and the American journalist William McHale are killed.

Sources

AGIP, 70 anni di storia, Roma 1995
AGIP, Storia dell'Agip (1936-1948)
AGIP, Mattei e l'Agip. Un album di famiglia, 1986
M. BOLDRINI, Enrico Mattei, Enciclopedia del petrolio
M. COLITTI, Energia e sviluppo in Italia. La vicenda di Enrico Mattei, De Donato, Bari 1979
M. COLITTI, Enrico Mattei, Il Parlamento italiano
M. MAGINI, L'Italia e il petrolio tra storia e cronologia, Mondadori
C. MOFFA, Enrico Mattei. Contro l'arrembaggio al petrolio e al metano. Una vita per l'indipendenza e lo sviluppo dell'Italia, del Medio Oriente e dell'Africa, Aracne, Roma 2006-03-06
I. MONTANELLI, Stampa e oro nero, vol. XXXV, Il Gatto Selvatico, Roma 1963
I. PIETRA, Mattei. La pecora nera, SugarCo, Milano 1987
A. TRECCIOLA (ed.), Enrico Mattei, 1945-1953. Scritti e discorsi, pubblicato a cura della Città di Matelica 1982

Downloadable documents

Arcuri, Camillo Colpo di Stato: storia vera di un'inchiesta censurata: il racconto del golpe Borghese, il caso Mattei e la morte di De Mauro
Milano - BUR, 2004
Bagnato, Bruna

Petrolio e politica: Mattei in Marocco
Firenze - Polistampa, 1984

Bazzoli, Luigi - Lenzi, Riccardo Il miracolo Mattei: sfida e utopia del petrolio italiano nel ritratto di un incorruttibile corruttore
Milano: Rizzoli, 1984
Bellini, Fulvio - Previdi, Alessandro L'assassinio di Enrico Mattei
Milano - Edizioni Flan, 1970
Bernabei, Domenico
[et al.]
Testimoni del nostro tempo: Bachelet, Basso, La Pira, Mattei ... a cura di Vittorio De Luca.
Torino - ERI Edizioni Rai, 1986
Boldrini, Marcello Enrico Mattei - Roma
Grafica Editrice Romana, 1968
Brancati, Salvatore Enrico Mattei? Un pescatore di trote: lunga intervista a Graziano Verzotto.
Palermo - Ila Palma, 1997
Briatico, Franco Ascesa e declino del capitale pubblico in Italia: vicende e protagonisti
Bologna - Il Mulino, 2004
Bruni, Luigi - Colitti, Marcello La politica petrolifera italiana
Milano - Giuffrè, 1977
Buccianti, Giovanni Enrico Mattei: assalto al potere petrolifero mondiale
Milano - Giuffré, 2005
Clo, Alberto Eni, 1953-2003 [a cura di]
Bologna - Editrice Compositori, 2004
Colitti, Marcello Energia e sviluppo in Italia: la vicenda di Enrico Mattei
Bari - De Donato, [1979]
Colitti, Marcello Enrico Mattei (1906-1962) in Mortara A. (a cura di), I protagonisti dell'intervento pubblico in Italia,
Ciriec, Milano - Franco Angeli, 1984
De Angelis, Sergio Enrico Mattei
Roma - Cinque Lune, 1966
De Rosa, Gabriele Sturzo mi disse
Brescia - Morcelliana, 1982
De Sanctis, Riccardo Delitto al potere: controinchiesta
Roma - Samonà e Savelli, 1972
Emiliani, Vittorio Gli anni del Giorno: il quotidiano del signor Mattei
Milano - Baldini & Castoldi, 1998
Frankel, Paul H. Petrolio e potere: Enrico Mattei
Firenze - La Nuova Italia, 1970
Frankel, Paul H. Mattei: oil and power politics
London - Faber and Faber, 1966
Galli, Giorgio La sfida perduta: biografia politica di Enrico Mattei
Milano - Bompiani, 1976
Galli, Giorgio La regia occulta: da Enrico Mattei a Piazza Fontana
Milano - Tropea, 1996
Galli, Giorgio Enrico Mattei: petrolio e complotto italiano
Milano : Baldini & Castoldi, 2005
Li Vigni, Benito Il caso Mattei: un giallo italiano
Roma : Editori Riuniti, 2003
Li Vigni, Benito La grande sfida: Mattei, il petrolio e la politica; prefazione di Giulio Sapelli.
Milano - Mondadori, 1996
Lomartire, Carlo Maria Mattei: storia dell'italiano che sfidò i signori del petrolio
Milano - Mondadori, 2004
Magini, Manlio L'Italia e il petrolio fra storia e cronologia,
Milano - Mondadori, 1975
Martinet, Gilles Gli italiani: ritratti inediti dal taccuino di un ambasciatore, Gilles Martinet.
Bari - Laterza, 1990
Mattei, Enrico Enrico Mattei, 1945-1953: scritti e discorsi, a cura di Antonio Trecciola,
Città di Matelica, 1982
Mattei, Enrico Enrico Mattei, 1953-1962: scritti e discorsi a cura di Antonio Trecciola; presentazione di Massimo Finoia.
Matelica - Fondazione Enrico Mattei, 1992
Mattei, Enrico Realtà e speranze dell'industria petrolchimica: discorso pronunciato il 27 aprile 1960 in occasione del conferimento della laurea ad honorem in chimica.
Fondazione Enrico Mattei, 1960
Maugeri, Leonardo L'arma del petrolio: questione petrolifera globale, guerra fredda e politica italiana nella vicenda di Enrico Mattei; prefazione di Ennio Di Nolfo.
Firenze - Loggia de' Lanzi, 1994
Moffa, Claudio Enrico Mattei. Contro l'arrembaggio al petrolio e al metano
Roma - Aracne, 2006
Perrone, Nico Mattei, il nemico italiano: politica e morte del presidente dell'Eni attraverso i documenti segreti, 1945-1962
Milano - Leonardo, 1989
Perrone, Nico La morte necessaria di Enrico Mattei
Roma - Millelire, 1993
Perrone, Nico Obiettivo Mattei: petrolio, Stati Uniti e politica dell'Eni
Roma - Gamberetti, 1995
Perrone, Nico Giallo Mattei: i discorsi del fondatore dell'Eni che sfidò gli USA, la NATO e le Sette Sorelle
Roma - Stampa alternativa, 1999
Perrone, Nico Enrico Mattei
Bologna - Il Mulino, 2001
Pietra, Italo Mattei: la pecora nera
Milano : SugarCo, 1987
Roh, Henri Enrico Mattei: chevalier des temps modernes
Sion, 1960
Rosi, Francesco - Scalfari, Eugenio Il caso Mattei: un corsaro al servizio della Repubblica
Bologna - Cappelli, 1972
Terranova, Sergio La Pira e Mattei nella politica italiana: 1945-1962
Troina - Oasi, 2001
Tonini, Alberto l sogno proibito: Mattei, il petrolio arabo e le "sette sorelle"
Firenze - Polistampa, 2003
Venanzi, Francesco - Faggiani Massimo Eni: un'autobiografia [a cura di]; prefazione di Giorgio Bocca
Milano - Sperling & Kupfer, 1994
Votaw, Dow The six-legged dog: Mattei and Eni: a study in power -
Berkeley - University of California Press, 1964
Votaw, Dow Il cane a sei zampe: Mattei e l'Eni: saggio sul potere
Milano - Feltrinelli, 1965
Yergin, Daniel The prize: the epic quest for oil, money and power
London - Simon & Schuster, 1991
Yergin, Daniel Il premio
Milano - Sperling & Kupfer, 1995
Pubblicazioni Eni Mattei: quell'idea di libertà - a cura della Direzione per lo sviluppo dell'immagine istituzionale e imprenditoriale.
Roma - Eni, 1982 (stampa 1995)
  Mattei: non solo un ricordo. 1962-1987.
Firenze, [s.n.], 1987
  Mattei e l'AGIP: un album di famiglia, [testi di Giuseppe Acqualagna, Rosario D'Agata, Oliviero Olivero] - 1. rist. - [S.l.]
AGIP, 1986
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  • Enrico Mattei at the negotiating table in Morocco
    Enrico Mattei at the negotiating table in Morocco
  • Enrico Mattei visits the Shah in the Middle East
    Enrico Mattei visits the Shah in the Middle East
  • Enrico Mattei at the negotiating table in Russia
    Enrico Mattei at the negotiating table in Russia
  • Enrico Mattei visits the Agip plant in Dobbiaco
    Enrico Mattei visits the Agip plant in Dobbiaco
  • Mattei's car on show at the Historic Archive in Pomezia
    Mattei's car on show at the Historic Archive in Pomezia
  • Enrico Mattei
    Enrico Mattei
  • Enrico Mattei visits a plant
    Enrico Mattei visits a plant
  • Enrico Mattei
    Enrico Mattei
  • Enrico Mattei
    Enrico Mattei
  • Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
    Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
  • Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
    Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
  • Enrico Mattei at the Caviaga well
    Enrico Mattei at the Caviaga well
  • Enrico Mattei at the Caviaga well
    Enrico Mattei at the Caviaga well
  • Enrico Mattei makes a speech in Piazza Duomo in Milan
    Enrico Mattei makes a speech in Piazza Duomo in Milan
  • Enrico Mattei and Alexei Kossigin
    Enrico Mattei and Alexei Kossigin
  • Enrico Mattei with his wife Greta Paulas
    Enrico Mattei with his wife Greta Paulas
  • Enrico Mattei with Egyptian President Gamal Nasser
    Enrico Mattei with Egyptian President Gamal Nasser
  • Enrico Mattei visits Gela
    Enrico Mattei visits Gela
  • Enrico Mattei at a conference
    Enrico Mattei at a conference
  • Enrico Mattei at a conference
    Enrico Mattei at a conference
  • Enrico Mattei with President Luigi Einaudi
    Enrico Mattei with President Luigi Einaudi
  • Enrico Mattei and Alcide De Gaspari
    Enrico Mattei and Alcide De Gaspari
  • Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
    Enrico Mattei at the Scuola Idrocarburi
  • Enrico Mattei during the prize-giving ceremony at the Scuola Idrocarburi
    Enrico Mattei during the prize-giving ceremony at the Scuola Idrocarburi
  • Enrico Mattei visits the STANIC refinery
    Enrico Mattei visits the STANIC refinery
  • Enrico Mattei visits the STANIC refinery
    Enrico Mattei visits the STANIC refinery
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Last updated on 07/03/12