FILE PHOTO: Italy’s Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani holds a news conference at the end of the pre-COP26 climate meeting in Milan, Italy, October 2, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

March 16, 2022

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will need at least three years to completely replace its gas imports from Russia with other energy sources, Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Wednesday.

Rome imports around 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Russia every year – some 40% of its total gas imports – and is looking to diversify its energy supplies in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Addressing the upper house Senate, Cingolani said completely substituting Russian gas was “possible over a minimum time horizon of three years”.

He said 20 bcm could be replaced in the “near to medium term”, thanks to a raft of diverse measures.

Among these, he cited a possible increase of 9 bcm in gas imports from Algeria and raising coal and oil-powered thermoelectric production, which could substitute 3-4 bcm of gas.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Giulia Segreti)

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