Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Russia is ready to supply more natural gas if Italy needs it, Russian Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov said Thursday during a Italian-Russian business forum in Milan.
Russia is Italy’s largest natural gas supplier. In December last year, a total of 41% of Italy’s natural gas imports came from Russian gas giant Gazprom, according to Italian newspaper Il Giorno.
This winter, however, Russian supply to Europe as a whole has been below normal as Gazprom has not shipped too much gas through the pipeline compared to its contractual obligations with its customers. This, combined with low levels of gas storage at European sites, has led to a natural gas crisis in Europe and record prices that have driven up electricity prices and weighed on many energy-intensive businesses in Europe.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Russian exports by pipeline fell by nearly 25% annually due to lower transit flows through Belarus and Ukraine and reduced deliveries to Turkey, the agency said. International Energy Agency (IEA) in its quarterly report.
The agency was among many industry voices blaming Russia for the energy crisis in Europe.
Low supplies of natural gas from Russia appear to have artificially tightened the European gas market, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said earlier this month, adding that energy systems “face significant risks” by relying too much on a single supplier for a key energy source.
Italy, like the rest of European governments, is seeking to contain the impact of soaring energy bills on households and businesses. The Italian government is preparing a new $8 billion (7 billion euro) household and business support program to ensure “adequate support” for the second quarter of 2022.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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