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 become political subjugation,” he said. “To do this, we need to diversify energy sources and find new suppliers.
To wean itself off 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 by next year and into 2024. other countries will follow,” said Draghi. “Diversification is possible and achievable in a relatively short timeframe, shorter than we imagined just a month ago.”
Currently, Russia supplies around 40% of Italian natural gas and 45% of gas imported from the EU.
Draghi also said Italy’s proposal to cap the price of natural gas was “getting support” in the EU. The bloc agreed to end coal imports in early April and there is pressure to extend this to oil and gas.
“Europe continues to fund Russia by buying oil and gas, among other things, at a price unrelated to historical values and production costs,” Draghi said.
Asked about winter and the risk of a slowdown in industrial production in the event of 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 to be taken, these would be mild,” he said, adding that they would include reducing heating by 1-2 degrees and similar changes to air conditioners.
Draghi also said the goal would be to invest quickly in renewable energy sources. “Up until now, the hurdle was basically bureaucratic and authorization,” he said. “We can’t afford these vetoes anymore.”