Russia Suspends Gas Flow to Italy, Blames ‘Regulatory Changes’ in Austria

Russia has cut off its supply of gas to Italy, blaming “regulatory changes” in Austria for the suspension.

Russian government-controlled energy giant Gazprom held up gas supplies to Italy last weekend.

According to Eni, Italy’s largest energy firm, Russia is citing a transportation issue in Austria for the cut-off.

Gazprom said in a statement on Telegram that the halt in gas supplies was the result of regulatory changes in Austria that took place at the end of September.

The company added that it is working together with Italian buyers to resolve the issue.

“Gazprom informed that it is not able to confirm the gas volumes requested for today, stating that it’s not possible to supply gas through Austria,” Eni said in a notice on its website on October 1.

“Therefore, today’s Russian gas supplies to Eni through the Tarvisio entry point will be at zero,” the energy giant added.

“Eni will provide updates in case supplies will be restored.”

As of October 3, Eni hasn’t provided an update to its notice to inform customers if gas supplies were restored.

Gazprom later confirmed that the gas transit through Austria had been suspended after its grid operator refused to confirm transport nominations, or the amount planned to ship.

Most of Russia’s gas to Italy—which represented about 40 percent of its imports last year—passes via Ukraine through the Trans Austria Gas Pipeline (TAG) to Tarvisio, a comune in northern Italy bordering Austria.

A spokesman for Eni said that Austria appeared to be receiving gas from Gazprom without any issues.

In a series of tweets, Austria’s regulatory authority E-Control detailed that new rules, which came into force in late September, had been “known to all market actors for months,” news agency AFP reported.

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It added that it expected “all to conform and take the necessary measures to fulfill their obligations.”

The problems were connected to “contractual details” linked to the transit of gas toward Italy, E-Control noted on Twitter, adding that this currently had “no effect” on Austrian consumers.

The Eni spokesman said the energy firm is currently working together with Gazprom to assess whether it’s possible to reactivate the flows to Italy.

Italy, a country familiar with economic crisis, has stepped up efforts in recent months to secure additional gas from alternative suppliers after the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February.

The southern European nation has been largely dependent on Russian energy for years.

Last month, Italy secured additional gas supplies from Algeria, increasing total deliveries by nearly 20 percent.

This means Algeria will become Italy’s top supplier, providing roughly 35 percent of imports.

Meanwhile, Russia’s share has dropped considerably, to about 20 percent as of June, Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s chief executive officer, said in September.

The cut-off of Italian gas comes days after underwater explosions damaged Gazprom-led Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

President Joe Biden on Friday labeled the incident an intentional “act of sabotage,” telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States and its allies won’t be “intimidated” by his words or threats.

“Let me say this: It was a deliberate act of sabotage, and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

Biden warned that the United States and its allies will investigate the matter and get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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