Italy – LNG opportunities at risk

By Catriona Scott 21 July 2016
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Greenstream receiving terminal, Sicily. Italy’s dependence on gas imports is set to grow. (Eni) Greenstream receiving terminal, Sicily. Italy’s dependence on gas imports is set to grow. (Eni)

Italy is a major gas importer and although the country has been oversupplied in recent years, it will need greater volumes of imports to support future market growth going forward. The size and source of these imports are important in terms of security of supply and pricing. Around half of Italy’s supply comes from just one country, Russia, and end user gas prices in Italy are amongst the highest in Europe.

As the country’s import dependence rises the balance of flows could change. However, despite the price and supply diversity advantages it could bring, LNG is likely to continue to struggle to make major inroads against piped supplies. A number of new LNG terminals have been proposed but are facing delays. Over supply issues have put new projects on the back burner, even though the volume of existing contracted piped supplies is set to fall. As Europe takes advantage of cheaper and more flexible LNG, if new terminals and imports aren’t developed and secured, Italy could miss out on competitively priced and more diverse supplies.

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