Mario Draghi: We no longer want to depend on Russian gas

Europe can reduce its dependence on Russian energy through diversification “in a relatively short time”, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in an interview with Corriere della Sera.

“We no longer want to depend on Russian gas, because economic dependence should not become political subordination,” he said. “To achieve this, we need to diversify energy sources and find new suppliers.”

To break away from Russian energy, Italy’s Annie signed an agreement with Algeria’s Sonatrach earlier this month to produce an additional 9 billion cubic meters of gas by next year and in 2024. “Other countries will follow,” said Draghi. “Diversification is possible and feasible in a relatively short period, shorter than we imagined just a month ago.”

Russia currently supplies about 40 percent of Italy’s natural gas and 45 percent of its gas imports to the EU.

Draghi also said Italy’s proposal to introduce a natural gas price cap “receives support” in the EU. The bloc has agreed to suspend coal imports in early April, and there is pressure to extend this to oil and gas.

“Europe continues to finance Russia by buying oil and gas, among other things, at a price that has nothing to do with historical values ​​and production costs,” Draghi said.

Asked about winter and the risk of slowing down industrial production if there is a shortage of gas, Draghi said Italy is well-positioned with gas in storage and new gas from other suppliers.

“Even if measures need to be taken to limit emissions, they will be light,” he said, adding that they would include reducing heating by 1 to 2 degrees and similar changes when it comes to air conditioners.

Draghi also said the goal would be to quickly invest in renewable energy sources. “So far, the obstacle has been mainly bureaucratic and permissive,” he said. “We can no longer afford this type of veto.”

Italy closes ports to Russian ships

As of Sunday, April 17, Italian ports will still be closed to Russian ships, RIA Novosti reported, citing Stampa.

According to a circular from the High Command of the Port Authority, which was available to the Italian newspaper, this ban will also apply to those ships that change the Russian flag with the flag of another country after the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24.

It is specified that these Russian ships, which are already in ports in Italy, will have to leave them as soon as they close their commercial activities.

Earlier it became known that the Romanian authorities will ban ships flying the Russian flag from entering their ports from April 17th. It was noted that an exception would be made only for those ships that needed an emergency stop, assistance, or shelter.

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