Algerian natural gas main supply source for Italy in Q1
Natural gas imported from Algeria was the main supply source for Italy during March and the entire first quarter of 2012, data published on Friday by the economic development ministry show.
This reversed the picture that emerged in February, when imports of Russian gas via the TAG pipe were the main supply source for the country (see ESGM 23 March 2012).
Flows from the North African country via the Transmed pipeline totalled 2 billion cubic metres (Gm³), or 34% of total imports. Russian gas imports via the Tarvisio entry point were the second biggest source at 1.7Gm³, 29% of total imports. Flows from northwest Europe via Transitgas were 0.8Gm³, or 14%, while gas from Libya accounted for 9% of supply.
LNG continued to have a limited importance for the country's supply, given the total gas injected in the grid from the Rovigo (Cavarzere) and Panigaglia terminals stood at under 0.8Gm³, or just 6% of total imports.
Considering the entire first quarter, imports from Algeria totalled 6.85Gm³ of the total 20.43Gm³ imported, higher than imports from Russia, which were 6.7Gm³.
For April, preliminary data from Italian transmission system operator (TSO) Snam Rete Gas show gas from Algeria (2.11Gm³) covers 36% of total imports, with 30.5% or 1.8Gm³ from Russia.
Consumption shrinks year on year
Total gas consumption decreased year on year by 22.5%, to 6.61Gm³ from 8.53Gm³ in March 2011, according to the figures from the ministry.
Consequently, imports decreased by 13.2% year on year overall. Imports from Algeria were 31.8% lower, flows from Russia 18.4% lower while imports from the northwest of Europe were relatively stable at -1.8%.
Considering the data provided by Snam for March, it emerges that the main factors depressing consumption year on year were a 30% decline in household consumption and a 34% decrease in electricity generation demand.
Domestic production increased by 4.8% year on year in March to 0.73Gm³ from 0.69Gm³. SM
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