Bloomberg News

Italy Gets Less Gas From Russia Than Sought as Stockpiles Fall

February 09, 2012

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Italy imported 13 percent less natural gas from Russia than it requested as colder-than-usual weather stoked demand for the heating fuel, depleting reserves.

Snam Rete Gas SpA, Italy’s pipeline operator, received gas at a daily rate of 94.2 million cubic meters at Tarvisio on the Austria-Italy border, where Russian fuel enters the country, a spokesman for the company said in a telephone interview from San Donato Milanese. A request was made for 108.3 million, he said. The hub received 95.1 million cubic meters yesterday, up from 87.6 million on Feb. 6. Imports from Algeria have also risen, with Mazara del Vallo receiving 95.2 million cubic meters yesterday from 85 million on Feb. 2.

Consumption in Italy reached 460 million cubic meters yesterday, the Industry Ministry’s Gas Monitoring Committee said today. It climbed to 450 million on Feb. 6, a level that requires the activation of emergency measures in line with European Union policies.

Storage at Punto di Scambio Virtuale, Italy’s gas-trading hub, was 57.9 percent full yesterday, a drop of 1 percentage point from a day earlier, and down from more than 100 percent of released capacity on Oct. 24. Italy is tapping as much as 170 million cubic meters a day from storage, the committee said on the Rome-based ministry’s website. At current rates, the stockpiles will be depleted in 20 days, Gianni di Giovanni, a Rome-based spokesman for Eni SpA, said yesterday.

Gazprom Request

Measures to ease domestic consumption from record levels in recent days are beginning to bear fruit, the committee said. The measures include restricting gas supplies to some companies and activating oil-fired power plants, as well as increasing imports from Algeria and northern Europe and tapping storage, it said.

Umberto Vergine, vice president of research at Eni, asked Gazprom OAO Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev in Moscow today that Russia deliver all the gas that Italy asks for in the coming days, Gianni Di Giovanni, an Eni spokesman, said on Sky TG24. Gazprom responded positively to the request, he said.

Italy, Europe’s third-biggest gas user, imports about 20 percent of its supplies from Russia, the world’s biggest gas exporter and producer. In 2010, Italy consumed 76.1 billion cubic meters of the fuel, making it Europe’s third-largest user after the U.K. and Germany, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

--With assistance from Matthew Brown in London. Editors: Rob Verdonck, John Buckley

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Milan at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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