Russian gas diversification is ‘possible and feasible,’ says Draghi – POLITICO

Europe can limit its dependence on Russian energy through diversification “in a relatively short time,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in an interview with Corriere della Sera published on Sunday.

“We no longer want to depend on Russian gas, because economic dependence must not turn into political submission,” he said. “To do this, we need to diversify energy sources and find new suppliers.”

To move away from Russian energy, Italy’s Eni signed a deal with Algeria’s Sonatrach earlier this month to receive an additional 9 billion cubic meters of gas for next year and in 2024. “Other countries will follow,” Draghi said. “Diversification is possible and feasible in a relatively short time, shorter than we imagined just a month ago.”

As it stands, Russia supplies about 40 percent of Italy’s natural gas and 45 percent of the EU’s imported gas.

Draghi also said Italy’s proposal to cap the price of natural gas “is gaining support” in the EU. The bloc agreed to end coal imports in early April and there is pressure for that to be extended to oil and gas.

“Europe continues to finance Russia by buying oil and gas, among other things, at a price that bears no relation to historical values ​​and production costs,” Draghi said.

Asked about winter and the risk of a slowdown in industrial production if there is a gas shortage, Draghi responded by saying that Italy was well positioned with gas in storage and new gas from other suppliers.

“Even if containment measures were taken, they would be mild,” he said, adding that they would include lowering heating by 1 to 2 degrees and making similar changes when it comes to air conditioners.

Draghi also said the goal would be to rapidly invest in renewable energy sources. “Until now, the hurdle has essentially been bureaucratic and authorization in nature,” he said. “We can no longer afford these vetoes.”

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