Natural gas is to remain a fundamental energy commodity in Italy and in the European Union during the coming decades. With a view to an increasing market integration, Italy and countries from Central and Eastern Europe could be interested in building a single regional market, implying a convergence towards a regional gas trading hub as a first step, then leading to a full-fledged market hub where the Italy would be the center. As a result of such a Euromediterranean hub countries of the region would improve their security of supply, reduce natural gas prices, and facilitate investments in new infrastructures. Necessary prerequisites for the establishment of this Euromediterranean hub are a stable alliance between governments and companies of consuming countries, collaboration agreements with producing and transit countries, the independence of the grids and a shared system of rules for grid access and use. The ownership separation of Snam, the Italian gas grid operator, from Eni as proposed by the Italian Government may represent a unique opportunity towards these goals.
Keywords: Natural gas, Gas grids, Euromediterranean region, Gas trading hub, Gas market hub, Regulation
Jel Code: L52, D47, Q48