Italy Could Boost Africa Gas Imports to Offset Russia

Source: Reuters 5/5/2014, Location: Europe

Italy could increase gas imports from Algeria, Libya and the Netherlands to counter any disruption of supplies from Russia, Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti said as G7 energy ministers gathered in Rome.

"We are capable of rapidly increasing imports from the supplier countries ... Libya, Algeria and the Netherlands," De Vincenti told Reuters.

His comments came on the day G7 energy representatives began a two-day meeting to discuss energy policy after a weekend of violence killed dozens in Ukraine, a major transit route for Russian gas into the EU.

Italy, which generates more than 40 percent of its electricity from gas, is increasingly dependent on Russian gas as Algerian imports decline and Libyan supplies are limited by growing unrest in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless it starts to pay off a gas debt which Gazprom says stands at $3.5 billion.

Rome is placing increasing importance on completing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to bring Azeri gas to Italy but is also supporting the South Stream project, which will transport Russian gas bypassing Ukraine.

"South Stream remains crucial. We still believe the pipe's arriving in Italy could be advantageous compared to an Austrian endpoint," De Vincenti said.

Austria's OMV agreed last week with Russian energy giant that South Stream would be routed to the Baumgarten gas hub in Austria, outmanoeuvring Italy which had wanted it to end in the northeastern Italian town of Tarvisio.

The Rome government wants to turn Italy into a southern European gas hub able to transit African supplies into Europe as it develops reverse flow capabilities at its northern borders.




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Related Categories: Coal  Electricity  General  Natural Gas  Oil 

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