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Cablegate: Italian Energy Issues: Special Envoy C. Boyden

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DE RUEHRO #1308/01 3030730
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290730Z OCT 08 ZFD
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ROME 001308

SIPDIS

EEB FOR SE GRAY
EEB FOR DAS HENGEL
EEB FOR DAS BRYZA
EEB FOR AMBASSADOR MANN
EEB FOR CBA SR FRANK MERMOUD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ENRG IT RU AZ

SUBJECT: ITALIAN ENERGY ISSUES: SPECIAL ENVOY C. BOYDEN
GRAY DISCUSSES CASPIAN ENERGY; ENI SOUTH STREAM RUSSIAN
TROUBLES; SKEPTICISM OVER 20-20-20 AND CHOOSING BETWEEN
U.S. AND FRENCH NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY


REF: A) ROME 451 B) ROME 1101

ROME 00001308 001.4 OF 004


Classified By: Minister Counselor Thomas L. Delare
for reasons 1.4 b, d and e


1. (C) SUMMARY: On October 9 and 10, 2008, Special Envoy C.
Boyden Gray visited Rome and met with key energy officials of
the Italian Government and private sector. Major points of
discussion revealed Italian worry about Caspian gas, namely
whether the Turks will agree to let a sufficient amount of
gas flow west to Greece and Italy, and whether the Azeris
might lack the gas and/or the political will needed to make
the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline project happen. Italy will
convene a Turkey-Greece-Italy-Azerbaijan meeting in December
or January in an effort to nail down positions. Regarding the
South Stream pipeline, ENI officials report a lack of any
definitive agreement to confirm their ""partnership"" with
GAZPROM -- this project appears to be on hold. Italian
energy officials are deeply skeptical about Europe's 20-20-20
emissions goals. A key GOI energy official told SE Gray that
the nuclear energy agreement that Berlusconi will sign with
the Russians in November will not be significant. Finally,
the Italians seem to be leaning towards the French in their
re-nuclearization project, though Embassy efforts have opened
up the possibility of fast-track approval of U.S. nuclear
technology too. End Summary


--------------------------------------------- ---
ENI HAVING TROUBLE WITH ITS RUSSIAN PARTNERS OVER SOUTH STREAM--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (C) Sergio Garribba, Energy Advisor to Economic
Development Minister Scajola, told SE Gray that the Italian
energy parastatal ENI has been having serious problems with
the Russians. For over a year, ENI has been telling us that
it had entered into a full 50-50 partnership with GAZPROM on
the South Stream (Black Sea) pipeline project, and that in
this partnership, ENI would go far beyond merely building the
pipeline for Gazprom (as they did on Blue Stream and as they
are doing on Nord Stream). This new arrangement would, we
were told, have made ENI a full partner with Gazprom in the
sale of the gas sent through the new pipe.


3. (C) Garribba explained, however, that during the summer
ENI asked the GOI for help. Garribba said the company is
concerned that it has no formal contract with the Russians.
ENI's concern was apparently peaked by the fact that the
Russians were signing contracts with Bulgarians and others
that did not include ENI as a partner. Minister Scajola went
to Moscow in an effort to get ENI the contract that it
wanted, and proposed the formation of a ""working group"" to
hammer out the contract's details. The Minister provided a
list of possible Italian participants and asked the Russians
to do the same. Garribba said the Russians never responded.
""ENI has nothing on paper from the Russians on the
partnership,"" stated Garriba, ""All they have is an agreement
to do a study."" Garriba spoke as if South Stream is not going
to happen. But he said he thinks the Russians may try to
double the capacity of Blue Stream (the pipe that goes from
Russia to Turkey on the Eastern side of the Black Sea). He
said that technically this route would be a lot easier.


4. (C) ENI officials told Ambassador Gray essentially the
same thing, stating that ENI is accused of nefarious
collaboration with Gazprom on South Stream when all ENI has
is the agreement with Gazprom to do a feasibility study
though their 50-50 joint venture. ENI, however, is
interested in securing the contract to build South Stream, as
well as obtaining from Gazprom rights to sell South Stream
gas to Eastern Europe. (Under current market ceilings set by
Italian anti-trust law, due to expire in 2010 unless renewed,
ENI would not be able to sell the gas in Italy.) Gazprom is

ROME 00001308 002.2 OF 004


interested in selling gas directly in Italy.


5. (C) During a separate October 21 meeting, ENI's South
Stream manager told EconOff that, ""in my opinion, South
Stream has less than 5 percent chance of being built in the
next five years."" He further explained that Gazprom will face
major problems in the near future in raising the capital it
needs to finance projects.


--------------------------------------------- ---
SOUTHERN CORRIDOR: ITALIANS WORRIED ABOUT AZERIS, NOT THE
TURKS
--------------------------------------------- ---

6. (C) On the Turkey-Greece-Italy southern corridor project
(TGI), SE Gray told Garribba that we think the problem is
primarily in Turkey -- the Turks are demanding too much Azeri
gas, and are unwilling to let a sufficient amount transit
their country. Garribba emphatically disagreed. He said
Italy has an ""informal agreement"" with the Turks to let 6-7
bcm of gas pass through TGI to the West. Garribba said that
Italy's concerns are focused on Azeri ability and willingness
to sell gas to the West. He said he doubted that the Azeris
had enough gas to meet both their domestic needs and the
requirements for TGI. SE Gray told Garribba that the USG is
confident that the Azeris will supply the gas to western
pipelines. ""We can deliver the Azeris, if you can deliver
the Turks,"" said Gray. Garribba said he would be able to
give a definitive answer on the Turkish position ""within four
months."" He explained that Italy is setting up a
quadrilateral meeting (Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Azerbaijan)
this December or in January 2009 in an effort to nail these
issues down. But he said at this point he is not sure that
the TGI pipeline will be built.


7. (C) In a separate meeting, MFA's Economic Bureau Director
General Magliano also indicated that Turkey is not the
problem. Magliano told SE Gray that Italy has excellent
relations with Turkey but not with Azerbaijan. SE Gray told
Magliano the same thing he told Garriba, that if Italy can
deliver Turkey, we can deliver Azerbaijan. Magliano was
non-committal, however, thanking SE Gray and stating that the
GOI would call on the USG's assistance if needed. The Georgia
crisis had created a problem for the Nabucco pipeline, he
said, which made TGI more practical. On the GOI's position
for the various gas projects, he summed it up as, ""the more
pipelines, the better"". Magliano said that following this
principle, Italy supports TGI, Nabucco, South Stream and Nord
Stream.


8. (C) TGI's private sector partner on the Italian side,
Edison, is not quite as sanguine about Turkey and worries
that there might be problems there. Edison's CEO Quadrino
explained to SE Gray that the plan is for Minister Scajola to
go to Greece in the very near future, followed by a trip to
Azerbaijan to obtain agreement. This may lay the ground work
for a deal with Turkey during the quadrilateral meeting later
this year or early in 2009. Quadrino said that the goal would
be to reach clear splits of the gas volumes.


9. (C) Garribba warned that the first of the Caspian Sea
pipeline projects to be finished ""will be the winner"" because
the market for gas will be saturated. Regarding Italy's gas
situation, Garriba said that if many of the proposed
pipelines and LNG terminals are completed, Italy will have
gas supplies excess to its needs. At that point Italy would
market gas to land-locked EU countries that lack access to
LNG. On energy diversification, Garriba said that he would
someday like to set limits on how much energy suppliers could
bring in from Russia. Companies might be told, for example,
that only 70 of their total imports could come from Russia.


ROME 00001308 003.2 OF 004



--------------------------------------------- --
20-20-20, Russian Nuclear Agreements, French Nuclear Reactors
--------------------------------------------- --

10. (C) Garribba was harshly critical of the 20-20-20 GHG
goals, calling them unrealistic, and lamented the lack of
coordination among environment, energy and economic
ministries. (Note: energy companies Edison and ENI expressed
to SE Gray similar skepticism over the 20-20-20 date and
target goals. End note)


11. (C) When asked about a planned November 7 Berlusconi
visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, and about reports that some
sort of atomic energy agreement would be signed, Garribba at
first didn't seem to understand what we were asking about,
but when he caught on he laughed and threw up his hands in a
dismissive gesture. ""Oh that,"" he said, ""That's a joke.
That's just for public relations. That's not important."" He
went on to dismiss the idea that Italy would opt for Russian
technology for its nuclear power program (Note: He is
probably right -- the Italians ended their previous nuclear
power project in response to the Chernobyl catastrophe -- but
given the close relationship between Berlusconi and Putin, we
can't be completely sure that their nuclear agreement will be
devoid of substance. End note).


12. (C) On nuclear power, Garriba seemed to indicate that a
number of companies would be ""invited to invest"" in nuclear
power as ""Italy is a free market and the GOI cannot dictate
to private companies"". He listed a number of possible
candidates, all of them European (ENEL, EON, Edison). We
asked about U.S. companies, and Garriba responded that a
company like Westinghouse might be asked by one of the
""investor"" companies to supply reactors to the project. He
added that Italy may opt to use two different reactor
designs. He said that the favorite technology may be French
as most of the potential power companies that might invest in
Italy seem to favor the Areva ERP design. He reiterated
Minister Scajola's goal of obtaining an Italian energy mix by
2030 of 25 percent nuclear power, 25 percent renewables and
50 percent fossil fuels. (Note: Post was able to persuade the
GOI to change a version of nuclear draft legislation that
would have waived Italian certification approval to nuclear
power plant designs certified by other EU governments. The
new draft applies the waiver to all designs certified by any
OECD country. This opens the door for U.S. firms, assuming
the legislation makes it through both houses of parliament in
its current form. End note)


--------
COMMENTS
--------

13. (C) ENI now seems to be claiming that their South Stream
deal with the Russians was always a bit tentative, but in
February 2008 (REF A) ENI seemed to be gloating over what
they apparently thought was more of a done deal. (However,
even at the time they did tell us that they thought there was
only a 60 percent chance that South Stream would actually be
built). GOI uneasiness about the Azeri gas situation is
similar to concerns Edison expressed to us last August (see
REF B).


14. (C) We hope Garribba is right about the lack of substance
in whatever nuclear agreement Berlusconi signs with Putin.
GOI officials occasionally include Russia on their lists of
possible nuclear power plant suppliers, but others (Garribba
included) tell us that the Russians are not really in the
competition. Italian officials know they have to overcome
deep safety/NIMBY concerns, concerns that were stirred up by
the 1987 melt-down of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.


ROME 00001308 004.2 OF 004



15. (C) While the Russians may be out of the running, we fear
the French may have the inside track due to their lobbying
efforts at the highest levels, and the fact that the European
power companies that will likely build nuclear plants in
Italy all have some type of French connection. Post will
continue its energetic efforts to ensure that U.S. companies
have a fair chance to market U.S. nuclear power plant
technology in Italy.
SPOGLI
"

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