Can Europe give up Russian gas? The question, from February 24, the day of the invasion ofUkraine, has become central in the agendas of the Italian and European authorities. She remained, however, still unanswered. Or rather the answer was from the European Commissionbut it was not decisive: in the new round of sanctions, Brussels has in fact decided to gloss over energy by applying the embargo only for coal, and not for gas and oil because this decision is not objectively feasible at the moment.
With the plan Repower Euthe European executive, however, has indicated the way towards the diversification of energy supplies by proposing to cut 100 billion cubic meters of gas out of 155 total imports from Russia already by 2022. The undertaking is difficult, because times are very short, but it is not impossible. At least on paper. The problem, especially for Germany And Italythe European countries most exposed to energy dependence on Fly, is to do it as painlessly as possible. On this point, the German government, industrialists and trade unions were very clear: “The blocking of Russian gas imports in the short term would have much more serious consequences for the economy and the national market than for Russia”.
For theItaly on the other hand, challenging Russian gas does not seem to be a taboo: “It can be done within 24-36 months”, assured the Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani. So what to do? The starting point of the government are the five gas pipelines that reach our country in Mazara del Vallo, in Sicily (Transmed); in Melendugno, in Puglia (Tap); in Gela, Sicily (Greenstream); in Passo Greis, in Piedmont (Transitgas) and in Tarvisio, in Friuli (the Tag, from which Russian gas arrives via Ukraine).
To date, what we know is that the agreement with theAlgeriathe second Italian supplier after Russia, signed by Eni And Sonatrachplans to increase the quantities of gas transported through the pipeline Transmed / Enrico Mattei of 3 billion cubic meters immediately and another 6 billion from 2023, to reach a total of 9 billion between gas and LNG. An agreement that will go beyond 2024 incrementally. However, the agreement with Algeria does not only concern gas, but also the development of renewable energies and green hydrogen. Other additional flows are expected fromAzerbaijan, destination of the previous diplomatic mission of the government, through the Tap. Baku has pledged to supply an additional 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas up to 9.5 billion.
A market analysis is also underway for the doubling of the gas transported up to 20 billion cubic meters which, if successful, would take about 4 years to build, without the need for new infrastructures. Additional smaller supplies could also arrive from Libyawhich through Greenstream imports 3.2 billion cubic meters, but has currently maximized capacity. From the northern Europeon the other hand, an increase in imports is not expected.
In all, there are seven countries with which Italy is in negotiations for new supplies. Government diplomatic missions have reached in recent weeks, in addition to Algeria And Azerbaijan, Qatar, Congo, Angola And Mozambique to strengthen energy cooperation.
In particular, from Qatarwhich is the first supplier in Italy of liquefied natural gas (LNG)and Egypt is expected to arrive with Eni An additional 3 billion cubic meters in 2022 and 5 billion in 2023, another 5 billion would come from the Congo in 2023-2024. New flows would be provided by the United Statesas the president promised Joe Biden toEuropean Union. To be introduced into the network, however, the LNG must be treated in the regasifiers. To cope with the crisis, the quantities treated in the three existing plants in Panigaglia, off the coast of Rovigo and Livorno, will be increased by 6 billion cubic meters.
Snam it is also dealing with two other floating structures. “The first ship will be operational in the first half of 2023,” announced the minister Cingolani, indicating a capacity of 5 billion cubic meters per year and, as possible destinations, Piombino, Taranto, Brindisi or the upper Adriatic. An aid to energy independence could also come from the increase in national production of 2.2 billion cubic meters in areas such as Cassiopeia, Canale di Sicilia and Marche.
As a structural response to the energy crisis and al dear billson paper the simplest solution could instead come from new renewable projects. As certified by the analyzes of Elettricità Futura, the main association in the Italian electricity world, a member of Confindustria, which has more than 700 operators in the sector. The association asked the government and the Regions to authorize 60 GW of new renewable plants by June, equal to only one third of the connection applications already submitted to Terna.
“The electricity sector is ready to invest 85 billion euros over the next 3 years to install 60 GW of new renewable plants and create 80,000 new jobs, giving a great boost to the Italian economy, “he explained Agostino Re Rebaudengo, president of Elettricità Futura. “Sixty GW of new renewable plants will save 15 billion cubic meters of gas every year, or 20% of imported gas. Or, in other words, more than 7 times what the government estimates it will achieve with the increase in national gas extraction “, concluded Re Rebaudengo. Finally, a further contribution could also come from the development of the biomethane which has a savings potential of approximately 2.5 cubic meters.
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