Italy to update gas emergency plan next week: Source

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The Italian government will update its gas emergency plan next week, a government source said on Thursday, adding Rome will not resort to rationing since it has reduced its dependence on Russian imports.

The updated emergency plan, however, envisages tougher measures that would be triggered in the event of a further reduction or a complete halt of gas supplies from Moscow.

“The updated plan includes different scenarios, even the worst-case one, and envisages tougher measures in case of further reduction of (gas) flows,” the source told Reuters.

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Italy’s existing gas emergency protocol envisages three stages going from a state of pre-alert, imposed at the end of February after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, before moving to one of alert and then to a state of emergency.

Rome last year got 40 percent of the gas it imported from Russia, an important resource used to produce its electricity.

The source said that the government’s efforts to find alternative suppliers have cut the share of imported Russian gas to around 18 percent in the summer.

One key additional measure is to have a new regasification vessel operational in the Tuscan port of Piombino by March 2023 to expand the country’s LNG capacity, the source added.

Gas and electricity prices have risen to historic highs in Italy and in many European countries as Moscow has restricted gas supplies to the bloc in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Carlo Bonomi, head of Italy’s industrial lobby Confindustria, this week warned of the risk of widespread company failures if energy prices do not fall.

Bonomi asked for a government plan for rationing gas and new government subsidies to shield manufacturers.

The government so far has spent nearly 50 billion euros on a series of measures to help shield firms and families from surging energy costs and rising consumer prices.

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