Italy is among the Western allies concerned about Russia’s grip on the European energy sector.
With Russian gas supplier Gazprom accused of holding a monopoly, Western powers are concerned about Moscow’s influence in the European market.
During a meeting in Rome with US secretary of state Antony Blinken, Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio deflected on the specifics when asked by reporters about Nord Stream 2, saying only that Italy was bolstering European energy diversity with the completion last year of the TAP, which carries gas from the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea to Europe.
Di Maio added:
- And Italy continues to believe that as far as energy goes and as far as energy production goes, we need to invest more and more in new technologies and we have to have a diversified energy mix
- We have, at the moment, a number of European programmes underway, such as the one that aims to promote hydrogen production
Led by energy infrastructure developer Snam, engineering consultancy RINA and steelmaker GIVA Group, the blend required no plant modifications, had no impact on plant equipment and did nothing to alter the characteristics of the end product.
Project developers estimate that hydrogen blends used at 3 of GIVA’s steel forging plants could avoid as much as 15,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
On Nord Stream, Blinken made no mention of the pipeline.
US president Joe Biden has shied away from exerting further pressure on the pipeline, arguing additional sanctions on a nearly-finished pipeline is a waste of political capital.
Nevertheless, the US government remains opposed to the pipeline, saying it undermines European energy security by keeping links to Russian energy in place.