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Italy could do without Russian gas if supplies ceased - CEO of Italian oil and gas company

March 21, 2014, 17:42 UTC+3 ROME
Russian gas makes up only 30% of Italian consumption
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Paolo Scaroni

Paolo Scaroni

© EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

ROME, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Italy could do without Russian gas if supplies were ceased due to sanctions, believes CEO of the Italian oil and gas company Eni Paolo Scaroni quoted by Italian media.

Russian gas makes up only 30% of Italian consumption so Italy could do without buying it and substitute Russian gas with supplies from Algeria and Libya, Scaroni, whose contract with the company expires in a month, told the Italian Parliament. However, he added, he did not like this situation as Italy would be at the breaking point and prices would inevitably increase.

Even so, Italy would get another source of gas, Azerbaijan, with implementation of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project, Scaroni added. Meanwhile, the future of the South Stream project that aims to supply gas bypassing Ukraine is grim, he believes, as the EU authorities can question construction of the pipeline.

Eni was preparing for new negotiations with Gazprom about contract gas price, and the economic sanctions against Russia complicated the process, he added.

Furthermore, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said following the Council of Europe’s meeting that the events in Ukraine by no means threatened Italy’s energy security despite the fact that Russian gas goes to the Apennines through its territory. The situation in Ukraine caused rather geopolitical than energy concerns, Renzi commented on Scaroni’s statements.

Raiffeisenbank’s analyst Andrey Polishchyuk links Scaroni’s statements to the upcoming election to the European Commission due in May. The incumbent commissioner for energy Gunther Oettinger will be hardly re-elected.

Meanwhile, Eni’s subsidiary Saipem was awarded a 2 billion euro contract in recent days to lay the first line of the South Stream pipeline on the Black Sea bed.

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