ROME, Italy: Italy's government will seek to double its drilling sites for natural gas as it expands the number of permits issued to drill for gas in the Adriatic Sea, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said this week.
If successful, Italy would double its output of gas to 6 billion cubic metres per year and lower energy prices for firms.
Increasing the number of drilling concessions will be brought before parliament in the next few days, Meloni told reporters.
Plans call for granting 10-year concessions to drill off Italy's Adriatic coast, in a bid to extract 15 billion cubic metres of gas, according to Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.
Local media reported that the government's plan called for selling the gas to Italian energy-intensive firms at between 50 and 100 euros per megawatt hour, Melons said. That cost would be below prices on the European gas market.
As of last year, Russian gas accounted for 38 percent of Italy's imported supplies.
Locally extracted gas, however, would provide only a small part of Italy's required gas needs. Rather, the bulk of the gas purchased by Italy would come from countries such as Algeria, Norway, Congo and Azerbaijan.