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The European Union can diversify away from Russia in natural gas faster than previously believed, the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, said this weekend.
In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Draghi noted an agreement by Italy to increase shipments of natural gas from Algeria and said that “Diversification is possible and feasible relatively quickly, shorter than we imagined just a month ago,” as quoted by Bloomberg.
“We have gas in storage and will have new gas from other suppliers,” Draghi said, adding that the energy conservation measures suggested by other officials—and by the IEA—were “mild”.
These measures include a suggestion for households and offices to reduce heating temperatures by between 1 and 2 degrees Celsius, which, according to the International Energy Agency, could save as much as 10 billion cu m of gas.
“The average temperature for buildings’ heating across the EU at present is above 22°C,” the agency said in its 10-step plan for reducing the EU’s energy dependence on Russia.
“Adjusting the thermostat for buildings heating would deliver immediate annual energy savings of around 10 bcm for each degree of reduction while also bringing down energy bills.”
“Europe continues to finance Russia by purchasing oil and gas, among other things, at a price that has no relation to historical values ??and production costs,” Draghi also told Corriere della Sera, days after Italy inked a deal for higher gas imports from Algeria.
The increase will be about 40 percent from current levels, Reuters reported. The deal comes as the EU discusses joint gas buying in order to ensure the adequate supply of all members, but it appears that Italy has, in the meantime, decided to go it alone, especially since Algeria is conveniently close and already a gas importer to Italy. The country sources some 40 percent of its import gas from Russia.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com