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Italy's Eni is only receiving 65% of requested volumes of gas from Russia, the state-run company said on Thursday, after Russia's Wednesday announcement that it would cut natural gas flows to Italy by 15%.
Gazprom also warned Italy that the volumes could fall even further—up to suspending all flows—on additional delays in repair work.
On Wednesday, Eni confirmed that Gazprom said it would cut natural gas flows to Italy, without detailing the reasons why. Then, Gazprom had explained volumes would be just 15% lower. Thursday, however, saw a reduction in gas flows from Russia by more than one-third.
Also this week, on Tuesday, Gazprom announced it was slashing gas flows to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline—by 40%--after equipment repairs had been delayed due to Russian sanctions. Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck, however, was quick to point out that the gas flow cuts were politically motivated, not due to any technical limitations.
Gazprom's Nord Stream 1 pipeline is due to undergo planned maintenance for two weeks. During this time, the flow of gas from Russia to Germany will be halted completely. Europe has been struggling to replenish depleting gas supplies ahead of the next heating season, and any disruption in flows now could tank those plans.
Italy receives 40% of its imported gas—29 billion cubic meters—from Russia. It is, however, working to disentangle itself from the grip of Russian gas supplies, and is working to secure additional gas from Algeria, Azerbaijan, the DRC, Egypt, Angola, and Qatar.
Italy's Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani echoed Habeck's sentiment on Thursday's reduced gas flows, saying that the reasons for the supply cuts could be linked with Russia trying to exert "political pressure or a manifestation of retaliation," Reuters said on Thursday.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.