09 Jun 2023, 13:36
Benjamin Wehrmann

Leaders of Italy and Germany endorse natural gas and hydrogen pipeline project "SoutH2 Corridor"

Clean Energy Wire

Italy and Germany are pushing for the construction of a new natural gas and hydrogen pipeline via Austria to strengthen inter-European energy trade - the “SoutH2 Corridor“ project. “The expansion of European grids will benefit us all and increase the supply security,” German chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to Rome. Diversifying Germany's energy supply continues to be a key priority, Scholz said. Following criticisms about the relationship between Germany’s center-left government and Italy’s rightwing coalition led by prime minister Giorgia Meloni, the chancellor stressed the tight economic and cultural relations between the two countries and announced bilateral government consultations in autumn that are supposed to usher in a joint action plan for key policy areas, including sustainable growth.
Prime minister Meloni said the pipeline project set up in coordination with the EU Commission will allow Italy, Germany and Austria to get better access to green hydrogen. The new pipeline is supposed to connect to the existing Trans-Mediterranean pipeline which connects Italy with north Africa. At the meeting, which was dominated by questions over the EU’s joint approach on migration, Meloni said that her government is looking into potential partnerships for the project. “This requires that we find ways to cooperate northern African countries on energy matters also.” Diversifying Europe’s energy supply could offer a chance to intensify economic cooperation in the Mediterranean region, she argued.

After losing Russia as its most important supplier of natural gas in the wake of the attack on Ukraine, Germany has been eager to quickly find alternative suppliers, both in Europe and overseas. Natural gas is projected to play a crucial role in the energy transition as a fossil backup until sufficient green hydrogen produced with renewable power sources is available to serve as a climate neutral fuel.

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