The Italian gas market is the fourth most important in Europe, with consumption equal to approximately 67 billion cubic meters in 2015 and withdrawal peaks from the network of 340 million cubic meters per day. Of this amount, 90% is imported mainly from non-EU countries through cross-border methane pipelines and, to a minor extent, through LNG terminals. On some days of the year the difference between the gas available in the network and the gas consumed by end users is particularly high and the gas storages currently in operation in Italy only staisfy about one third of the domestic consumption.
In fact, as estimated by the competent authorities (Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity Gas and Water), Italy lacks a daily withdrawal capacity of 65 billion cubic meters of gas per day. In addition, consumption will amount to between 65 and 75 billion cubic meters per year by 2030 (Source: ENTSOG, Ten Year Network Development Plan, 2016), of which approximately 48% is attributable to residential consumption, 30% to industrial consumption and 22% to consumption for the production of electricity (Source: IGS elaboration of SNAM S.p.A data).
This capacity deficit has to be filled in order to ensure the functionality and security of the energy supply system without resorting to emergency measures, as occurred in 2006, 2010 and 2012.
The Ital Gas Storage facility can give a considerable and strategic support to the procurement system, with a contribution that can bridge 20% of the gap.
In an evolutionary scenario in Europe, Italy could play an important role in intercepting the new gas transit channels from South to Central and North Europe (reverse flow) and become the Mediterranean gas hub, with positive effects for all of Italy. In fact, the Cornegliano Laudense site will be connected to a very important gas junction where the main Italian and European gas pipelines merge, therefore contributing to the realisation of an Italian gas hub for Southern Europe.