April 19. 2024. 8:14

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Italy free from Russian gas by year’s end says minister


Italy will be independent of Russian gas by 2023, said Italian Enterprise Made in Italy Minister Adolfo Urso (Fdi/ECR), pointing to two regasifier ships, one of which arrived at the port of Piombino, allowing the country to rely on countries like Algeria, Azerbaijan and Libya for gas instead.

After 26 days of sailing from Singapore, Golar Tundra – which can process 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquid natural gas (LNG) per year – finally arrived at the port of Piombino, in the province of Livorno. Together with the other regasifier ship, expected in Ravenna, the two are expected to have a total capacity of 13 bcm per year.

Italy will be able to “completely free itself within this year from dependence on Russian gas”, Urso told Radio24. “We have gone from 40% Russian gas in 2021 to 16% last year, with the two ships, we will complete our autonomy”, he added.

On energy prices, the minister said there are “no alarms in sight” due to stocks currently being full due to an exceptionally mild winter. He added that the price cap agreement reached in Brussels also ensured a gradual reduction in global prices.

Golar Tundra will have to wait until May before being fully operational, as connections with the new onshore pipeline still need to be completed. Snam Fsru Italia CEO Elio Ruggieri said the first load for testing will arrive in late April.

But not everyone is pleased with the arrival of the regasifier ship.

Piombino Mayor Francesco Ferrari (Fdi/Ecr) and several citizen committees have protested the regasifier for months, citing safety concerns.

An appeal against installing the regasifier ship in the Tuscan town’s port is still pending at the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) with a hearing scheduled for 5 July.

“I appeal in particular to my fellow citizens in reminding everyone that the issue is far from settled: there is still an appeal pending (…) if the court decides to uphold it, the Golar Tundra will have to unmoor and leave our town”, reads a note from Mayor Ferrari.

Intervening in Ferrari’s defence was MEP Susanna Ceccardi (Lega/ID), who lashed out at Tuscany Governor Eugenio Giani for blocking, in 2008, the European Union’s project for a “cheaper” and “far less polluting and impactful than a regasifier” pipeline.

“We need to turn things around and show the left that they are not the real environmentalists. They fill their mouths with environmentalism and then don’t get to the facts”, Ceccardi stressed.

(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)