Intervento dell'Amministratore Delegato, Claudio Descalzi al Parlamento Europeo
Le fonti di energia rinnovabile giocheranno un ruolo sempre più importante, ma è necessario che abbiano un "compagno" per compensare ogni necessità. Per questo "occorre favorire lo sviluppo di un modello energetico fondato sul gas e sulle rinnovabili che è il ponte ideale per un futuro a basso carbonio, investendo sull'attuazione completa del mercato unico europeo del gas, in grado di dare a ogni Stato un'offerta di gas sicura, concorrenziale e diversificata". È questa la posizione espressa dall'AD Eni Claudio Descalzi all'audizione al Parlamento europeo sulla politica energetica europea.
Leggi l'intervento dell'AD
Good afternoon, I would like to thank President Buzek for his kind invitation and all the I.T.R.E. members that are here today to discuss EU energy security, a crucial subject for a Europe which is more and more a net energy importer. In the 2000s, the EU produced more than 50% of its own gas needs. This is now less than 30%, and in a few years, we will be well below 20%. This is one of the main reasons why the first and most crucial priority facing energy security is to work towards an integrated Energy Union. In addition, the growing urgency to reduce carbon emissions to fight climate change, makes it even more important to build a sustainable and diversified energy mix that is capable of supporting economic growth, whilst also leveraging the huge investments made so far. Starting from the ’70s, Europe has strategically chosen to have an energy model that was based on natural gas as the cleanest, most efficient and reliable energy source.
In fact, gas can conciliate competitiveness, energy security and environmental sustainability, because it is an abundant source, in close proximity to Europe and connected through numerous supply routes.
It also plays a crucial role in the decarbonization process, emitting half as many CO2 emissions compared to coal in power generation. Europe has invested a lot for decades in the construction of an integrated gas market, and now we can rely on one of the biggest energy infrastructures in the world, which is capable of importing 60% more than current demand, and accounts for 465 Bcm of pipeline capacity and 200 Bcm of LNG capacity.
To give you an idea about capital expenditure, just in the last 20 years, we have invested more than 65 Billion € in regasification capacity, pipelines and storage, increasing import capacity by around 40% and storage by 50%. If we also consider the investments made to build more than 150 GW of new hyper‐efficient gas‐fired power plants, we can count an overall spending of around 240 Billion €. In line with this strategic view, EU gas demand increased by 30% in the period between 2000 and 2009 reaching 520 Bcm with the prospective of a further rise to 700 Bcm by 2015.
However, starting in 2009, something changed and demand collapsed in few years to 400 Bcm per year and the utilization factor of modern combined cycle gas plants decreased by around 45%, reaching the current level of less than 30%. This was due to the economic crisis and growing competition from renewables and coal. Since 2008, Europe has been the only continent in the world to set challenging targets on climate, taking quantitative commitments for emissions reduction, adopting a carbon pricing mechanism and heavily subsidizing renewables. In 2014 subsidies in the EU reached around 75 bln $, corresponding to around 55% of the worldwide subsidies spending on renewables. This wise and visionary strategy but without any control on the energy mix, increased energy costs and led to a real contradiction.
In fact, while renewables have grown by 8% in the power sector in the last five years, clearly achieving a welcome success for the EU, this growth has been accompanied by a resurgence in the use of coal, leading to a clear paradox. First, coal has been considered as the way to easily compensate for the high costs resulting also from renewable subsidies, reaching a share of 25% of Europe’s power mix while generating around 76% of Co2 emissions and nullifying a very big part of the benefits granted by renewables. In fact, a 1% increase in coal use neutralizes the benefits from a rise of around 10% in renewables. And secondly, coal seemed the solution to address the growing anxiety around reliability of gas supplies.
On the first point, the environmental target has a necessary cost, which is repaid in the long term by the beneficial effects on the planet and on our lives, but in terms of energy mix, I would like to concentrate your attention on the second point: the security and diversification of gas supply. First of all, as explained before, we have an exceeding import capacity, which can largely satisfy future EU demand, and for which the energy industry invested a huge amount of money. Secondly, on top of traditional suppliers, we now have the possibility to take advantage of the discovery of new gas super‐giants in the East Med region and East Africa. Furthermore, in addition to the reserves already discovered, it is expected that the Nile Delta and the Levantine Basin still have great potential, and will be added to the substantial resources already discovered in Libya. Finally, the oversupply of the LNG market due to the rise of many new gas suppliers around the world, will add new volumes coming to Europe, also from the US, and will reduce prices. For all these reasons, today’s gas supply is even more secure, diversified and competitive than in the past. We cannot waste the efforts and investments made in the past decades, but we have to build our energy security model on it and complete the definition of an integrated gas market, which is even more necessary if we consider the 2030 goals made at COP 21. In fact, renewables will play a major role, but they cannot walk alone for the moment and need a companion to compensate for any intermittence and provide suitable baseload. We need to favor the development of an energy model based on gas and renewables, which is the ideal bridge to a low carbon future, investing to complete the implementation of a single gas market, capable of giving every single State a reliable, competitive and diversified gas supply.
So, what is required to complete this process?
The levers have already been identified, and much has already been done:
the first lever is to favor domestic gas production. Since the 2000s, domestic production has halved but some member states, have the potential to increase gas production. This can deliver benefits to the economy and employment; while at the same time reduce import dependency. We need policies that encourage the exploitation of gas resources.
the second lever is internal interconnection. Today, gas flows run from East to West and from North to South. This means that there are major limitations in moving gas from Spain to France, from Italy to Germany and especially from Germany to the eastern European states. Interconnections, however, are simple to carry out because we just need to link the existing infrastructures, increasing reverse flow connections, and take advantage of the enormous upside potential in terms of import capacity in the two Southern hubs of Italy and Spain. This will reap benefits for the Northern and Eastern countries, as it will increase the diversification of their supplies.
and finally, the implementation of a common Regulatory Framework. This is crucial to ensuring harmonized rules for transportation and storage facilities and enhancing trans‐national trade while guaranteeing leveled pricing throughout different markets.
To conclude, we are very close to completing an integrated European gas market. However, we need a unique approach, that considering national needs can go also beyond them, one which aims at building an energy model that is based on gas and renewables, and looks to take advantage of all the capabilities that we have built over the last decades. By doing this, we will create a way to rapidly and efficiently reduce emissions whilst promoting a real and sustainable Energy development model for Europe.
12/05/2016 - 7:00 PM
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