SNAM shareholders’ meeting, gas at all costs (even if it’s Russian)

For the fourth year in a row, SNAM will hold its shareholders’ meeting behind closed doors, thanks to an outdated rule contained in the ‘Mille-proroghe’ decree. The intervention of activists, who would have liked to submit to the company their concerns about its existing and planned investments, will not be allowed.

However, the answers to the written questions that ReCommon was able to ask before the meeting confirm a vision that will lock us into fossil gas for decades to come. Also, it confirms the unwillingness of SNAM itself to embark on an effective energy transition. It is no coincidence that its new strategic plan says that of the €10 billion in total investments planned for 2022-2026, 9 will be invested in new gas infrastructure, including for liquefied gas imports. In fact, SNAM aims to cover 40% of Italian gas consumption with LNG by 2026. The moment is ‘favourable’, gas comes first and alternatives can be abandoned, which should instead be a must for a country like Italy that intends to respect the indications of the Paris Agreement and thus limit the effects of the climate crisis. 

In particular, we asked SNAM about the origin of the gas that is being imported from Spain. The answer was that the company has no evidence of the origin of this gas.

FSRU Toscana, foto Avallav, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“This statement leaves us astonished. We are in fact talking about significant quantities: 22% of the liquid gas imported from the Panigaglia terminal in the whole of 2022 and 57% in the first quarter of 2023. As we pointed out in our last report ‘Energy security for whom’, the third largest supplier of liquid gas to Spain is Russia. A short circuit that opens up very serious doubts about SNAM’s overall strategy expressed by CEO Stefano Venier, namely to replace the 40% of Russian gas imports of a few years ago with 40% liquid gas. But in whose interest?” Elena Gerebizza of ReCommon stated.

SNAM then confirms its plan to build two FSRU terminals and three mini-gas backbones in Sardinia, despite the clear rejection by the Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and the Environment (ARERA) regarding the construction of a gas backbone to bring fossil gas to the island. This despite not a few obstacles and protests against the project, which condemns Sardinia to a new dependence on fossil fuels, after that on coal.

“To our question about the possibility of making a comparative assessment with current market prices between the network sections ‘possibly needed’ for the methanisation project

and the possibility of switching to full electrification from renewable sources,

thus excluding the switch from coal to gas, SNAM responds by referring to evidence published in 2020. In particular, to the study by the independent company RSE published in July 2020, which refers to gas prices that are completely different from the current ones. When will there be a real cost-benefit analysis to definitively retire the dastardly project to methanise Sardinia?” Filippo Taglieri of ReCommon stated.

SNAM also confirms that it has submitted projects for the new chapter of the Recovery and Resilience National Plan, linked to the implementation of RePower EU. Infrastructures that are to be completed by 2026, and that would have “a strong international significance, which are strategic for the diversification and security of supply sources”. An ambiguous wording, which also leaves the doors open for new pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals, in defiance of the climate crisis. Moreover, SNAM has already benefited from both PNRR funds and the Italian Complementary Fund for “LNG infrastructures and research and development activities aimed at developing new technologies for the production of clean energy and accompanying the energy transition”, the latter chapter in which SNAM and ENI’s CCS pilot project would fall. “The latter is a project of doubtful usefulness and very expensive, which will only contribute to increasing the number of false solutions that will still keep us tied to gas for decades,” Taglieri concluded.

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