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Italy boosts LNG imports after Russian gas shortage

Italy, which relies on gas imports to cover about 90 percent of its needs, has boosted liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Spain and Algeria as part of emergency measures introduced earlier this week to offset major cuts in supplies from Russia.

Three cargoes are due to arrive at the Panigaglia terminal in central Italy with Spain re-exporting one cargo and Algeria sending a further two. The vessel LNG Elba docked at the terminal on Friday, while the LNG Lerici from Algeria arrived on February 11th and the Annabella from Spain is expected on February 16th, according to AIS Live ship-tracking data on Reuters.

“Re-exports from Spain to Italy are increasingly frequent, based on a pre-existing supply deal between Gas Natural and ENI,” an LNG trader from an investment bank told Reuters. Italy has managed to cope with critical shortages of Russian gas by increasing imports from other gas trading partners, Italy’s Industry Ministry said on Thursday.

Italy was hardest hit after Russian pipeline export monopoly Gazprom diverted some supplies destined for Europe last week as its domestic consumption soared. Russian gas flows to Europe have since increased, but they have not been fully restored. The country’s demand for imported gas was set to reach record levels on Friday as gas flows via Austria and France increased, Bentek Energy data showed. Italy expects to import 289 million cubic meters per day, according to nominations seen by Bentek.

Both the Panigaglia and Rovigo LNG terminals are working at reduced capacity, according to data from grid operator Snam, due as bad weather has delayed fresh shipments.

Source: Reuters