Snam Working on Infrastructure Projects to Boost Gas Supplies

MILAN (Reuters) — Italy's Snam is working on a series of infrastructure projects to help boost gas supplies as Europe scrambles to find alternative sources to cut its reliance on Russia.

Snam, which manages some 33,000 km of pipeline in Italy, has stakes in key pipelines bringing Algerian and Azeri gas to Italy as well as the TAG pipeline that transports Russian gas.

"There's a renewed focus on supply diversification maximizing pipe imports from the south and particularly additional LNG," CEO Marco Alvera said in a conference call on Thursday.

Snam, which makes most of its revenue from gas transport, also runs most of Italy's gas storage capacity and has stakes in two LNG terminals.

Rome has said it would take at least three years to replace all the gas Italy receives from Russia but has also said half of the imports could be replaced by mid-year.

Talking to analysts on full-year results, Alvera said all options were being considered to clear the way for the MIDCAT pipeline to carry Spanish LNG into France.

"The MIDCAT pipeline should be built, it's a no brainer," Alvera said.

Alternative Routes

Alvera also said the group was involved in a pre-feasibility stage project for a new offshore pipeline from Spain to Italy, adding in the very near term it was also organizing a virtual pipeline of small vessels to carry LNG from Spain to its LNG plant at Panigaglia.

Spain has the largest regasification capacity in Europe but transporting the gas across the Pyrenees into Europe has been a problem because of bottlenecks.

The group, which has no ventures with Russian companies, said that flows from Russia had so far been regular.

"We have been working together with the European and domestic institutions as well as with the regulatory authority to contribute to current efforts aimed at further implementing storage and regasification capacity," Alvera said.

Russia supplies Italy with around 40% of its gas imports and Rome has been scrambling to find alternative supplies since the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier on Thursday Snam said it expects an adjusted net profit of around 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) this year compared to 1.2 billion euros last year when investments rose 6.8%.

The group, whose main shareholder is state lender CDP, confirmed it would pay a dividend on last year's results of 0.262 euros per share.

($1 = 0.9057 euros)

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