Enrico Mattei was born in Acqualagna on 29th April 1906 and was an entrepreneur, politician and public manager.
Soon after the Second World War he was appointed by the state to dismantle Agip, set up in 1926 by the Fascist regime. However, instead of carrying out the government’s orders, he reorganised the company and founded ENI in 1953, of which Agip became a key component. Mattei gave new stimulus to the oil drilling industry of the Pianura Padana, and launched the construction of gas pipelines for the use of natural gas and paved the way for nucleur energy.
Under his presidency, ENI negotiated significant oil concessions with the Middle East and an important trade agreement with the Soviet Union, such initiatives contributed to breaking the oligopoly of the “Seven Sisters” which then dominated the world petroleum industry. In addition Mattei introduced a principle whereby the owner countries of the reserves had to receive 75% of profits deriving from the use of reserves. Although not politically active, Mattei remained close to left-wing Christian Democracy and was a member of Parliament between 1948 and 1953.
For his activities Mattei was awarded an honorary degree in engineering from the Faculty of Engineering (now Polytechnic) at the University of Bari in 1961. He received other honorary degrees, the Order of Merit for Labour cross and Bronze Star Medal from the United States Army on 5th May 1945, as well as honorary citizenship from the town of Cortemaggiore.
He died on 27th October 1962, in a mysterious plane accident, the causes of which have remained obscure for many years. Following new evidence, it was established in 2005 that the crash had deliberately been provoked, in fact explosion tracks were found on parts of the wreckage as well as on a ring and watch belonging to Mattei.