Annual Shareholders’ meeting, SNAM ties us to fossil gas for decades

Rome, 7 May 2024 – Snam, the largest gas transmission system operator in Europe, a company 30 per cent owned by the Italian state, is holding today the shareholders’ meeting.

In its strategic plan up to 2027, the corporation speaks of ‘sustainable infrastructure development’ but reality shows its intention to perpetuate the gas business with new investments in pipelines, storage facilities and regassification terminals.

A few months ago, a new methanisation plan for Sardinia was announced, which would involve the installation of two FSRUs, a larger one in Porto Torres (by Snam), the other in Cagliari, and one or more regasifiers in Oristano. Snam, through its subsidiary Enura, will also develop the island’s internal gas infrastructure. This move is ‘consistent’ with the 2023-27 investment plan, in which €10.3 billion out of a total of €11.5 billion will be earmarked for new gas or hydrogen and gas infrastructures together, including those for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The latter is a key element of Snam’s strategy which, in the name of the energy security mantra preached by the EU, plans to cover 40 per cent of Italian gas consumption with LNG by 2026. A strategy that exposes people and companies to a very high risk, since LNG is characterised by massive price variability.

And yet, despite this element of volatility and an overall sharp decrease in gas demand across Europe, no less than 8 import terminals have been in operation in the Old Continent since February 2022 and a further 13 projects are expected to be operational by 2030. As the US think tank IEEFA reports, the combined capacity of European LNG terminals could be three times higher than the assumed LNG demand by the end of the decade.

Snam plans to extend the life of the Piombino FSRU until 2048, moving it to Savona/Vado Ligure. “Anything but an emergency measure, the Golar Tundra is likely to become ‘permanent’, with all the harmful effects on the area’s population and the environment, especially the marine one,” said Filippo Taglieri of ReCommon. 

For the energy transition chapter, Snam is betting heavily on hydrogen, with projects to be developed with the support of state aid. “The new infrastructure described as hydrogen ready by Snam is in fact designed to extend the life of the fossil business. We cannot allow millions of euros in public resources to be thrown away in this way. Projects like the South H2 Corridor, which will run from Tunisia through Italy to Germany, must be stopped,’ said Elena Gerebizza of ReCommon.

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