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Eni calls for putting excess gas supplies into storage to cover winter risks

June 22, 2022

LONDON (ICIS)–Italy’s natural gas supply is currently exceeding domestic demand by 40 million cubic meters (mcm)/day with a daily average of 200mcm of gas imported through the Algerian, Libyan and Azeri routes, in combination with LNG deliveries, Russian supply and national production, incumbent Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said on the social media on Monday.

Italy’s imports averaged 202mcm/day in May, while flows dropped to 174mcm/day between 1 and 20 June, according to Italian transmission system operator (TSO) Snam Rete Gas data.

Russian gas supplies reach Italy via the Trans Austria Gas Pipeline (TAG) and Transitgas gas corridors. While TAG deliveries are secured through Eni and Russian producer Gazprom long-term contract, Transitgas imports are mostly spot gas deliveries bringing some of the resold Nord Stream 1 gas into the country.

The reduction of to Germany resulted in lower gas imports to Italy via Transitgas, with an average of 8mcm/day of gas delivered via that route between 1 and 20 June, according to Snam.

INJECTIONS RATES

Descalzi also said Italy would need to implement measures to ensure the surplus gas is put into storage, to the extent of setting prices back to a level that would make buying storage capacity profitable.

Although injections sped up in June, with a daily average of 48mcm/day, Italian stock sites were 40% full on 20 June, which is around 13 percentage points below the previous year’s fullness on the same day.

Snam latest storage auctions results confirmed shippers’ poor appetite for buying storage capacity, whereas July auctions have seen only 938mcm of storage capacity allocated out of 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) offered on sale.

Traders surveyed by ICIS said that the 40mcm supply surplus would not be sufficient to fill Italian stock sites by October within the current injection rate and given the ultimate target of having stock sites full by 90%, which is equal to 10bcm of gas stored by the end of the injection season, although the initial offer of storage capacity amounted to 12bcm.

RUSSIAN GAS REPLACEMENT

“Although we would not be able to replace Russian supply yet, we could cope with peaks over the next gas winter by trying to fill stock sites up to 70-80%,” Descalzi said adding that Italy could cut Russian gas dependency to 20% with additional gas Eni secured through new agreements. Eni has a long-term gas deal with Gazprom until the end of 2035 and has agreed to Russian new payment terms and opened a rouble account in Gazprombank.

Russian imports to Italy totalled 7.6bcm in the year to date, covering 21% of the domestic demand, which amounts to 36bcm so far. Russian flows covered 37% of Italian gas need over the same period last year, with total imports accounting for 13.7bcm between January and 20 June.

icis