Finanza & Mercati

«Italy an ancient partner, you will still have Russian gas»

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Elena Burmistrova, ceo Gazprom Export

«Italy an ancient partner, you will still have Russian gas»

The European Commission recently proposed to extend the Gas directive to every pipeline reaching the EU. This adds to worries related to the latest round of US sanctions and to Denmark possibly forcing to re-route the pipe.Is there a sort of Plan B if NordStream 2 is delayed or becomes unfeasible?
The new initiatives of the European Commission have to be studied thoroughly. So far it is too early to speak about potential consequences of the Commission's initiative which, by the way, should yet get an approval from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Anyway, the Gas Directive is about the rules how to operate pipelines, not about permissions to build them. Hence, this initiative will not have an impact on the project's schedule.

Gazprom's plan to double Russian gas exports via Germany worries somehow Italy:out country could be penalized as a gas hub and probably be forced to pay more for supplies
I can understand why such questions can appear, but there are no reasons to worry. We consider all possible options and choose the one that is most beneficial, both for our clients as well as for ourselves. Italy is one of the most important markets for us, and one of our oldest partners. Even if we construct gas pipelines via Germany, new volumes of gas will be able to reach your country. We have always been meeting our obligations to the clients, and, of course, we are taking care on how the gas will be delivered here.

You are also planning a Southern route, anyway, with TurkStream that could have two lines
Speaking about the second line of the TurkStream, we are discussing this issue with our key customers and partners in Italy. We are discussing it with SNAM as well: what can be done and which way is the best to guarantee the security of supply.

Do you plan to use Tap or Igi Poseidon to reach Italy?
We discuss all the potential projects. I cannot disclose details of the negotiations as they touch upon commercially sensitive aspects. But believe me, we will not leave Italy without gas. Italy is one of the European leaders in terms of gas consumption, and, by the way, your country is the European leader in using gas on transport. I think it is very important, and Italy must become an example for the whole continent.

Are you renegotiating any supply contract with Italian clients at the moment?
I would not say that in Italy we are now involved in any difficult negotiations. Some discussions are going on, but this is normal. This applies to the current issues on the agenda: clients are always ready to discuss the price because they want to reduce it, and the suppliers would like to increase it. This is a common story for our industry like for any other one. This is why we meet and talk. This is a dialogue which never stops.

Speaking about the arrival of US Lng on the market, do you think it changed somehow the rules of the game? Maybe it pushed you to change your price formula, opening to a spot component?
I cannot say that it was LNG that pushed us to amend the gas pricing formula. First of all, the LNG from the U.S caused almost no influence to the European market. And we had started to talk about the inclusion of the spot component into the contracts long before the first supplies of the U.S. LNG reached the market. The proposal to include the spot component was a decision related to the development of the European gas market. Eventually, that was beneficial for us. Our contracts adapt to the changing market conditions, and this gives us more opportunities. The fact that our new contract model is demanded is proven by our record sales.

The strong growth of supply - not only because of US Lng - moved gas markets to surplus. How long do you think it will last?
Many analysts say that there is a supply glut on the LNG market, but I don't think so. I don't see that gas is being sold anywhere at ultra-low price. Look at the prices in China, or Japan. The supply surplus as such is an interesting topic to discuss by analysts and journalists. I think that, if there were such a critical supply glut, the prices would have crashed to their lows, – but this didn't happen. Moreover, we see new customers and markets emerge that are ready to take new volumes. Our new large LNG supply contract with Ghana proves that.

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