Gas storage systems are necessary in order to ensure a timely delivery of gas to the various points of consumption, limiting dependence on national production, import contracts from abroad and regasification programs.
Underground natural gas storages make use of an infrastructure that allows
for the cyclical injection and withdrawal of gas in the porous rock of a depleted
In Italy, this type of gas storage is regulated, both operationally and commercially, by the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and by the Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity Gas and Water (AEEGSI), which define the gas price and the returns of the different stakeholders, to prevent market speculation. MISE and AEEGSI also establish the direct users and the relative ways in which they can access the gas coming from storage sites, with tariffs defined as a result of competitive auctions.
The gas is injected in the reservoir during periods of lesser demand (usually in summer) and withdrawn later on, or to cover peak consumption needs. Normally, during the winter, 30% of gas consumption is satisfied by gas supplied from the storage system.