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Italy to present further measures to curb energy costs, boost gas storage By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attends a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Kyiv, Ukraine June 16, 2022. L

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will present new measures on Wednesday to help families and firms cope with surging energy costs and boost gas storage amid a Russian supply squeeze, the office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi said.

The package comes on top of more than 30 billion euros ($31.52 billion) budgeted since January to soften the impact of sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs, which are weighing on the growth prospects of the euro zone’s third-largest economy.

The measures will mainly focus on extending to the third quarter existing tax breaks and bonuses aimed at cutting fuel bills for energy-intensive enterprises and poor households, a government statement said.

Ministers will also examine a measure to help energy groups secure cheaper financing to buy gas for storage.

Government and industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday that a potential option was for the state to guarantee financing for companies that need to replenish their gas supplies.

Rome has said it plans to have the country’s gas storage system filled to at least 90% of its capacity by November, in line with an EU-wide target, up from 55% at present.

Italian energy group Eni said its request for gas supply from Russia’s Gazprom (MCX:) for Wednesday had been only partially confirmed, the eighth straight day that the company will have received less gas than requested from Moscow.

Italy gets about 40% of its imported gas from Russia and, like other European Union nations, has begun efforts to diversify its energy supply mix in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

($1 = 0.9517 euros)

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