Italy’s Draghi accuses Russia of lying over Eni gas shortfall

Italian energy giant Eni ENI.MI said it would receive only 65% of the gas supply volumes it had requested from Russia’s Gazprom GAZP.MM on Thursday, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi accusing Moscow of using its gas supplies for political reasons.

Russian gas supply to Europe overall via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline fell further on Thursday and Moscow said more delays in repairs could lead to suspending all flows, putting a brake on Europe’s race to refill its gas inventories.

The shortfall coincided with a visit by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to Ukraine with his French and German counterparts on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said reductions in supply were not premeditated and related to maintenance issues, but Draghi dismissed his explanation. 

“Both Germany and us, and others, believe these are lies. In reality they are making a political use of gas like they are using grain for political use,” he told a news conference, after the ecological transition minister made similar comments. 

“Gazprom explained that the under-delivery is due to problems at the Portovaya plant… which feeds the Nord Stream gas pipeline, through which Gazprom transports part of the volumes destined for Eni,” an Eni spokesperson said.

“UNDER CONTROL”

Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said the situation in Italy was not worrying so far and said Rome was ready to trigger unspecified countermeasures at the beginning of next week if needed.

“The gas situation is under control, we are monitoring flows day and night, damage is so far limited,” Cingolani said.

Italy aims to have the country’s gas storage system filled to at least 90% of capacity in time for next winter. Storage stands at 54% of capacity as of Thursday.

Italy last year sourced 40% of its gas imports from Russia.

However, Rome’s campaign to reduce its reliance on Moscow is already bearing fruit with Russian gas imports down to less than 24% of the total in the first five months of this year, according to Italy’s National Agency for Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA).

With Russian gas supplies falling, Algeria has become Italy’s biggest gas supplier, accounting for 31% of total imports, ENEA said.

Eni’s daily gas request from Gazprom on Thursday was approximately 44% higher than on Wednesday, the spokesperson said, adding that was due to the need to recover volumes not received the previous day and “normal commercial dynamics”.

Eni will therefore receive approximately 32 million cubic metres on Thursday, slightly higher than on Wednesday but only 65% of what it asked for.

Disclaimer: This report is automatically generated from worldwide news services. NTN is not responsible for its content and does not moderate it.

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