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Italy calls for higher gas imports to meet demand

10 Jan 2017 15:57 GMT
Italy calls for higher gas imports to meet demand

London, 10 January (Argus) — The Italian economic development ministry has called for shippers to increase gas imports in a state of alert.

The state of alert, announced yesterday evening, is a warning to importers to balance high gas consumption by bolstering imports from abroad rather than through storage withdrawals, but does not require any specific intervention.

A cold snap has boosted demand and temperatures are expected to remain significantly below the seasonal average until at least 12 January, the ministry said.

The strong heating demand has so far resulted in withdrawals above contractual capacity. The stockdraw at Stogit-operated facilities was 132.6mn m³ on 9 January, above the aggregate withdrawal capacity of 113.9mn m³, including 7.92mn m³ of short-term capacity allocated at the day-ahead auction.

Stocks are still 61pc of commercial capacity, but it is important to maintain adequate inventories throughout the rest of the winter, the ministry said. Stogit facilities held 7.39bn m³ this morning, just below the three-year 10 January average of 7.46bn m³.

But there may be limited room to increase imports further as Tag flows tested capacity and Transitgas flows were forecasts at 57.3mn m³ on Tuesday, not far from the pipeline's capacity of 64.4mn m³/d.

And Algerian deliveries were below nomination over the past few days as a result of pressure issues on the Transmed pipeline, which appeared to continue today. Transmed flows of 58.1mn m³ were expected at 16:00 local time, below the 72.6mn m³ nominated at the beginning of the gas day.

Italy also has 4.5bn m³ of strategic stocks and aggregate 165,000-175,000m³ of LNG stocks for the peak-shaving service at the Livorno and Rovigo terminals.