The zeroing of Russian gas supplies should arrive in the winter of 2024-2025. Eni's CEO said so Claudio Descalzi, as part of the visit in Algeria of the President of the Council Giorgia Meloni. “Going like this I am positive, in the winter of 2024-2025. I would say that by continuing like this things will go in the right direction”, added Descalzi, who then spoke of the supplies from Algeria.
With Sonatrach "we update the agreements annually on the quantities that have been respected: more than 3 billion cubic meters have been given and another 3 billion in 2023 and then more", said Eni's CEO. “One has to think that just two years ago Algeria gave Italy around 21 billion cubic metres, now it has given 25, we will reach 28 billion next year and then in '24-'25 we will exceed it again. He is truly a strategic partner who is helping a lot for Italy,” Descalzi explained.
“With bottlenecks in the South, an 'Italy hub' in the Mediterranean is only potential”
Italy's gas comes mostly from the south and if there is a bottleneck, "the very concept of a hub has great potential that is not being expressed", he continued. Responding to a question about making Italy a gas hub at European level, Descalzi observed that the hub is primarily made up of gas to be brought to Italy and "in 2-2,5 years we will be able to have what the consumption". However, as observed by Eni's CEO, "energy security is also made up of infrastructures". Descalzi recalled that Italy has five connection points, four without counting the access of Tarvisio (where gas arrives from Russia via Ukraine) in a conservative manner, and boasts three regasification terminals. “I hope they will soon become four” with the addition of the Piombino regasification terminal, observed Descalzi, and five with the floating regasification terminal which will be docked eight kilometers from the beaches of Punta Marina, in the municipality of Ravenna. According to Eni's CEO, the construction of regasification terminals in the north will be able to be expanded when the Adriatic backbone and therefore the network of gas pipelines coming from the south will in turn be expanded. In fact, as noted by Eni's CEO, "we have a bottleneck between Campania, Abruzzo and Molise". As Descalzi pointed out, "about 126 million cubic meters of gas per day can arrive from the south, and this is the bottleneck for which we are almost at the limit". Eni's CEO noted that Snam has already announced the expansion plan that needs to be approved by Arera. "As full gas comes from the south if we have a bottleneck, the very concept of a hub has great potential that is not expressed".
Descalzi also observed that "there is no connection between Italy and the North" of Europe. “We have connections but they are still quite small, 10-15 billion cubic meters”. “The past corridors – continued Eni's CEO – have always been north-south, never south-north. By working on the entire infrastructural part, by opening Italy in its Italian path and in its path to the north, it can be done (the hub). We need to work on a gas acquisition program and an important infrastructure programme". In the interview with journalists Descalzi noted that Italy boasts many connections. “We are the only ones to have a pipeline connection with Algeria with a capacity of 36 billion cubic metres, still underutilized, there is still 10 billion of 'spare capacity'. We have a connection with Libya that is worth 12-14 billion cubic meters in terms of capacity which with adequate compression additions can rise by several billion". Descalzi added that the liquefied natural gas sector with Egypt, Nigeria, Angola, Congo and Mozambique is added to the gas pipelines. “We have already managed to recover almost 50 percent of Russian gas, mainly through Africa. We also have pipelines in the north that not only come from Russia, but also from northern Europe through the Gries Pass. Then we have the Tap pipeline (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) with 7-8 billion cubic meters”.
Regarding the agreements that will be signed with the Algerian Sonatrach, Descalzi explained that they are "full-bodied and of great content". “Today we signed a very important agreement regarding the efficiency of our production system and that of Sonatrach. We have already signed an agreement to replace the gas we use for our and Sonatrach's internal activities with renewables and we will move forward in major expansions. Added to this is an agreement where we will try to identify and minimize the 'fugitive' or methane emissions”, said Descalzi. For Eni's CEO, the idea is to identify these "fugitives" also via satellite, stop the methane leaks and "make this gas available for sale and export". According to Descalzi, the agreements fall "at the heart of energy efficiency and the substantial reduction of CO2 emissions". Other agreements concern the capture of CO2 in the industrial activities of Sonatrach. “We – continued Descalzi – already have an agreement on hydrogen and we are always expanding it through renewables with the possibility of also building pipelines for the transport of hydrogen, because those that transport gas are not completely compatible”. Descalzi also specified that "in Sonatrach's idea there is also the transmission of electricity, or rather using the structural part of the pipelines to pass electric wires to transport electricity" produced from renewables.
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