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Italy weighing state of alert amid Russian gas supplies squeeze -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The Eni logo is displayed at an Italian gas station, Rome (Italy), September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

Francesca Landini & Giuseppe Fonte

MILAN, Reuters – Italy might declare a heightened “state alert” for gas supplies next week if Russia cuts its supply. This was after Eni had reported a shortage in flow from Moscow for the third straight day.

A series of actions would be taken to reduce consumption. These measures include rationing gas for selected industrial uses under existing contracts, increasing production at coal power stations, and asking for additional gas imports from other sources under existing contracts.

The existing Italian gas emergency protocol has three phases. It starts with a pre-alert that was imposed in February following the Russian invasion, then moves to an alert, and finally to a condition of emergency.

One source said that a meeting of emergency technical committee gas will be held on Tuesday or Wednesday in order to assess the situation.

A source in industry said that groups involved with implementing measures to lower gas consumption during the alert state are available to help.

According to an industrial source, Italy’s coal power stations have collected the coal needed for a boost in production over the past few months.

Rome may declare an emergency in the event of further deterioration of its situation. This could include major difficulties with replenishing gas stores.

Eni had earlier said that it will receive half the volume of gas supplies it requested from Russia’s Gazprom (MCX):

Gazprom stated that against Eni’s daily demand of approximately 63,000,000 cubic meters of gas, it would only supply half of the requested amount. Actual quantities will be almost identical to yesterday, according to its website.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin, stated that Thursday’s supply cuts were unpremeditated. However Mario Draghi (Italian Prime Minister) dismissed this explanation.

These are all lies, according to both Germany and the United States. “In reality, they make a political political use of gaz like they’re using grain for their political use,” Draghi stated at a news conference while visiting Kyiv along with his French and German counterparts.

Russian gas supplies to Europe were cut short by demand on Friday. This coincided with a heatwave in the south, which boosted benchmark prices and raised concerns that Europe may not have enough storage to meet its winter needs.

Italy wants to fill its gas storage system to 90% by next winter. As of Thursday, storage was at 54%.

After the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February, Italy started to lessen its dependency on Russia’s gas supplies.