Enel says will go beyond target to boost gas storage


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ROME - Enel is set to meet its gas storage target this year and has also committed to raising stocks further, the Italian utility's chairman said on Thursday, as Italy adapts to reduced supplies from Russia.

Michele Crisostomo told daily Il Sole 24 Ore that Enel had placed 0.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in storage and would increase that to 0.6 bcm by October.

He said the group was committed to storing up to 1 bcm and that "the quantity in excess of the planned 0.6 bcm would be the contribution (Enel) can give for the country's energy security".

Italy is among the European countries with a high dependence on Russian fuel, traditionally receiving about 40% of its gas imports from Russia.

As Russia has limited supplies to Europe and the European Union seeks to curb its reliance on the country, Italy plans to fill its storage system to at least 90% of capacity by November, in line with an EU-wide target.

Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Tuesday Rome also planned to purchase coal to be ready to maximise the use of coal-fired power plants if needed to save gas, as part of broader efforts to diversify the energy supply mix following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Crisostomo said production of electricity from coal had already risen significantly, with Enel expecting to use 8 million tonnes of coal - compared to 4 million tonnes in 2021.

"Coal allows a more residual use of gas," Crisostomo said, adding that, although the use of coal was not envisaged in the group's decarbonisation plans it was a "temporary need".

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti, editing Sabina Suzzi and Barbara Lewis)

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