Italy is threatened by a severe winter if Russian gas stops “now”

Italy is withdrawing from Russian gas, but will face a critical winter if Moscow cuts off supplies immediately, Italian Environment Minister Roberto Singolani said Tuesday.

Italy, which imports about 40% of its gas imports from Russia, is rushing to diversify its energy supply as the conflict in Ukraine intensifies.

Speaking before parliament, Cingolani said initiatives to find alternative supplies and reduce gas consumption would allow Italy to end its dependence on Russia by the second half of 2024.

But he added that the measures should be implemented in stages over time and warned that stopping Russian flows this month would create a serious problem for filling storage sites before winter.

He said such a scenario could lead to a shortage of 10-15 billion cubic meters of gas in January and would require “much tougher” savings measures.

“It will be important to maintain Russian flows until the end of 2022, in so that it can withstand the winter and allow for a gradual withdrawal of Russian supplies, “he added.

Italy, which consumed 76 billion cubic meters of gas last year, is gone in countries like Congo, Angola, Algeria and Qatar to try to replace the 29 billion cubic meters it receives from Russia.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy is ideally placed to play a bridging role for gas from Africa and the Middle East to Europe.

Cingolani stated that, in based on agreements with producing countries, Italy will obtain 12 billion cubic meters of new gas through pipelines and 12.7 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas by 2025.

Italy has only three operational LNG terminals and it is in negotiations for the purchase of two floating vessels to increase capacity.

“It is very important that the first floating station is operational by early 2023,” Singolani explained.

The Italian minister’s comments came the day after Rome announced a 14 billion euro ($ 14.8 billion) package of measures aimed at protecting businesses and households from rising energy costs.

He said the idea of ​​setting a ceiling on the price of gas in Italy would be “very difficult”, adding that such a step should be taken at EU level.

He also said that setting a ceiling of 80 euros per megawatt hour could cut energy bills by about a quarter.

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