Italy to wrap up first gas deals to replace Russia flows in coming weeks

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Italy's Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 5, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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MILAN, April 4 (Reuters) - Italy should wrap up its first deals to get more gas from suppliers to replace flows from Russia in the next week or so, Ecology Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Monday.

"A series of talks are under way ... in the next few weeks we will close the first agreements," Cingolani said in an online conference.

The minister said Italy expected to get an extra 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from pipelines to Algeria, Libya and Azerbaijan this year.

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That number should be more than 20 bcm when these new flows become fully operative in the period to 2024.

Italy, which sources about 40% of its gas imports from Russia, has been scrambling to find alternatives and diversify its supply mix following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Besides boosting its pipeline capacity from the south, it is keen to increase liquefied natural gas imports from markets like Qatar, the United States and Mozambique.

Cingolani said Italy's three current LNG terminals could be used to the full to supply 4-5 bcm of extra gas while two new floating storage and regasification units could bring around 10 bcm of extra supply in the medium term.

Last week Prime Minister Mario Draghi said that while replacing 30-40% of Russian supplies could be done immediately, it would be much harder to replace the rest. read more

Last year Italy imported around 29 bcm of gas from Russia.

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Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Leslie Adler

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