The Italian government has sued Occidental Petroleum for $400 million in an alleged breach of contract arising from a 1981 joint coal-mining venture in Kentucky and West Virginia. The suit was filed in federal court in New York by Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, the national energy board of Italy. The suit said ENI put more than $500 million into the venture, Enoxy Inc. Oxy's subsidiary, Island Creek Coal Co., contributed four coal mines. The suit said two of the mines incurred losses, and when ENI sought compensation under the contract, Island Creek "obdurately and unjustifiably refused to fulfill their obligations." Oxy called the suit "totally without merit."