Gas: from prices to storage, here is the impact of the Russian cut
by Luca Pagni
ROME – What would happen if the Russia drastically reduce supplies to Italy or go so far as to turn off the taps completely? The problem would be to cope with the sudden shortage of supplies of up to 28-30 billion cubic meters of gasthose who in recent years Gazprom has guaranteed our country. The government, which has already moved since the weeks preceding the start of the conflict between Russia And Ukraineworks on both a emergency plan for the immediate is a medium and long-term plan. Let’s see in detail what it is.
by Luca Pagni
The government works to reduce in a structural way gas consumption. In the event of a supply interruption, some measures would be triggered immediately. The first concerns the limitation of heating in homes and offices: a maximum temperature would be imposed as well as a number of hours for switching on during the day. Limitations also for public lighting both in cities and along the extra-urban road network.
A second measure that can be taken immediately is the increase in electricity production thanks to greater use of coal-fired power plants. There are still six in business in Italy (two in Sardinia, Venice, Monfalcone, Civitavecchia and Brindisi): they are set to close by 2025, but can be used in an emergency. The operators have been pre-alerted and will proceed only in the event of a blockade of imports from Russia: the goal is to replace 5 billion cubic meters of gas.
by Luca Pagni
In the last three months, the government has closed agreements to increase pipeline supplies from countries that have been strategic partners for years: up to 8-10 billion cubic meters could arrive in two winters from Algeria, Libya and Azerbajian. North Sea producers could also guarantee greater supplies.
But gas also arrives by ship: in the form of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) goes to the three Italian regasifiers in La Spezia, Livorno and Rovigo. The share of imports could rise by another 5 million, given that the plants could process 20-25% more raw material. From the Qatarone of the largest producing countries, which ships its gas to Rovigobut also from Egypt And Israel. The United States has also promised at least 30 billion more LNG to Europe for next winter, part of which to Italy. This is why the Snam group has purchased a regasification vessel to be positioned offshore from Piombinowhile a second ship is expected to arrive in the port of Ravenna.
by Luca Pagni
Looking for alternative sources does not exclude the government from pursuing at European level the proposal of a price ceiling for gas purchases. The premier Mario Draghi it tries to overcome resistance in the name of the objective of curbing speculation and prices, stopping the inflationary spiral. At the EU level, it is also proposed to decouple the price of gas from that of Petroleum (for the contracts that still provide it), but also from Ttf, the Stock Exchange which is located at Amsterdam where “spot” contracts are exchanged.
Extract more methane from deposits in Italy. Activate new ones. It is one of the medium-term axes in the government’s strategy. The tool is the Pitesai, the map of areas suitable for the extraction of hydrocarbons: it had reduced national production from 20% in 2000 to 3-4% in 2020 and instead will now be revised, announces the minister Roberto Cingolani, in order to “use more and more national gas” and reduce imports. There are two possible directions: to increase extractions from already active fields, such as those below Adriatic, and start new drilling. Eyes on the upper Adriatic, where the Croatia already exploits the rich deposits. The government will soon make its assessments, based on “serious and detailed technical” analyzes.
Against the flare-up in prices, a new substantial package of aid to families and businesses is announced. By the end of June, a decree will renew all discounts on bills and will go back to cutting the excise duty on the gas. But there are “various” other hypotheses under study, in support of the “weakest”. The discount on petrol could be increased, compared to the current 30 cents and specific aid could arrive for fishing. A cut in the tax wedge up to the end of the year is then studied (at least the doubling of the cut up to 35 thousand euros). At least 7 billion is needed, the aim is to find more than 10. The funds will come from higher than expected tax revenues and from the extra VAT. And an increase in the levy on extra-profits, now at 25%, is not excluded.
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