Renova unit receives approval for Italian gas storage

Feb 25, 2009 01:00 AM

A gas company belonging to Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg has been granted clearance from Italian authorities to build one of Europe's largest gas storages in Italy by 2011, the company, Avelar Energy, said.
Swiss-based Avelar, which forms part of Vekselberg's Renova holding, said it would invest EUR 400 mm ($ 512.5 mm) to build the storage in the province of Matera in southern Italy. It will have capacity of 700 mm cm, gradually rising to 1 bn.

Avelar said it had yet to clear the plan with local authorities after obtaining an accord from different Italian ministries. The project also includes pipeline modernisation and construction of a gas processing plant.
Vekselberg, alongside fellow Russian partners, controls half of TNK-BP, with UK supermajor BP holding the other half. TNK-BP has ambitious gas production plans in Russia although most of them have been curbed by the country's gas export monopoly Gazprom.

Gazprom supplies Italy with 22 bn cm of gas per year -- a little over a quarter of the country's annual consumption -- and wants to expand further by selling more gas to ENI and independent players.
Gazprom has a number of gas storage facilities in Europe, but not in Italy.

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