The European objectives in the energy sector are leading to the creation of an increasingly open and competitive internal market, which allows the final users (households, businesses and electricity producers) to have access to a better quality of supply and services at a lower cost.
A fundamental condition to reach these targets is the development of integrated infrastructures in a European network, which supports the market dynamics of the shippers and distributors active in the phases of gas procurement and sales.
Among the different energy infrastructures, a leading role is played by gas storages, since they increase the security and diversification of the energy supply and simplify the integration of energy produced by renewable resources. The issue of security of supply is especially significant in a European context characterised by a minor domestic production of natural gas which results in an increase of gas imports and, therefore, in an increasingly greater dependence on non-European operators.
According to GSE (Gas Storage Europe), the storage capacity in Europe is deficient for a volume equal to 30-50 billion cubic meters.
One of Europe's challenges is the promotion of infrastructure in the gas sector, such as the development of trans-European networks for gas transport, creation of new access points (LNG terminals) and furthering the development of storage capacity.
According to the European Security Strategy (ESS) of 2014, synergies can be obtained through increased cross-border cooperation, for example by developing evaluation systems for risks (stress tests) and for the security of procurement plans at both a country level and at a European level, creating a regulatory framework for gas storages, recognising their strategic importance.
The necessity to develop the relevant infrastructure in this sector is also connected to gas consumption, which in 2015 was equal to approximately 425 billion cubic meters only in Europe (Source: Euristat). Moreover, this trend is expected to remain stable even in the coming decades, with a demand equal to 400 billion cubic meters predicted in 2030, as estimated by the European Commission in the EU Reference Scenario 2016.
The Cornegliano Laudense storage site, thanks to its location, the physical properties of the reservoir and the advanced plant design choices, will be able to significantly contribute to the strengthening and interconnection of the European gas system, for the benefit of citizens and businesses.