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EBRD: gas, we have learnt lessons, Danube route opened

Interview with ANSA. South Stream delayed. 700 million for Tap

05 July, 20:22
(ANSA) - TRIESTE - First some anticipatory events in 2006 and 2009, then the big crisis with the clash in Ukraine over the last few months: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) opens the Danube route, an alternative to the only solution of gas storage in Eastern Ukraine. ''We have finally learnt that there is a question of risk'' in the gas transit from East to West, says the Director-General for Energy at the ERBD, Riccardo Puliti, in an interview with ANSA New Europe. Since 2009, the EBRD has invested over 300 million in projects for gas storage along the Danube, and it has also financed the construction of a LNG terminal in Szczecin (Poland): 3 billion cubic metres of gas will come from Qatar, two from the market.

These numbers are of course not comparable with those of Ukraine, which has now in its tanks 14.2 billion, that is 44% of capacity. ''And we must also recognize - Puliti underlined - that between April and June, Gazprom has continued to store in the Ukrainian system 7 billion cubic metres. Russia remains the leading country, and the EBRD will continue to invest in the Russian Federation. Anyway, diversification is a European dogma, and the last few months have confirmed Moscow's slowdown. ''South Stream will surely be built too late,'' Puliti said.

''Gazprom - the general manager at the EBRD stated - has a legal dispute with the European Commission, and we will see how it will end by November''. The last obstacle is Bulgaria: government in Sofia has suspended the pipeline construction, but Vladimir Putin reiterated that ''we will go on''. The EBRD invests 10-12 billion euro per year in the energy sector, led by Puliti. After the failure of Nabucco, the EBRD - the manager said - will invest 600-700 million euros in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will connect the greek-turkish border to Italy with an initial capacity of 10 billion cubic metres. Another challenge is shale gas, which in a few years caused a 'revolution' in the US, and that has given Eastern Europe some hope, even though so far the results of drilling operations in various countries, including Poland, are quite disappointing.

Puliti urged the Italian Government to make again a stable renewable energy investment. ''We are in favour of a low-carbon economy, but - the EBRD warned - you need to take into account business cycles, considering that countries can move at different paces, just like they are doing now in the United States''.

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