Italy Switches Position on Nord Stream-2 Pipeline

Energy | January 11, 2016, Monday // 18:19|  views

File photo, EPA/BGNES

The Italian government has asked to participate in the enlargement of Nord Stream pipeline project, the Italian edition of the Huffington Post.

The issue was reportedly discussed a few days ago in a phone conversation between Italian PM, Matteo Renzi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Italy’s desire to be part of Nord Stream pipeline, transporting gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, is a twist in the country’s position about the project. In the end of December, 2015, Italy was one of the EU countries which strongly opposed plans about the extension of Nord Stream 2.

The cabinet in Rome even headed an opposition formed by several other countries, urging the EU to evaluate whether the project followed the standards of the European Energy strategy, especially in the part regarding diversification of energy sources.

Under pressure from Italian governement, the Nord Stream issue was included in the European Council agenda. In the end of the Council meeting in December, President Donald Tusk announced that the enlargement of the pipeline, was not in the EU’s interests since it would increase EU’s dependence on Russian natural gas.

Italy has also been part of the opposition to South Stream, another controversial project for Brussels. The project started as a joint effort between Russian Gazprom and Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni.

In the end of 2014, the European Commission froze the project because of several failures in South Stream Third Liberalisation Package. Few weeks after the freezing, President Putin announced withdrawal from South Stream and stated that the Russia would, instead, work on the realisation of Turkish Stream.

In the end of December, 2014, Eni sold its share of 20% to South Stream Transport, part of Gazprom. In March 2015, the Russian gas magnate bought the shares of the other shareholders - EDF and Wintershall - each of which had shares of 15%. 

However, with the latest downgrade of Moscow-Ankara relations after the downing of Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber, Turkish Stream and other major projects between the two countries have been brought to a halt. 

On January 11, Bulgarian media, citing Russian TASS news agency, announced that Russia is set to continue with the South Stream pipeline project in a matter of few weeks.

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Tags: Nord Stream-2, Italy, Donald Tusk, South stream, Turkish Stream, Matteo Renzi, Vladimir Putin


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