The natural gas sector in Italy ? as broadly described in the recent sector study published by MCC's Industry Research Department1 ? is characterized by high growth rates and the rapid development of both a regulatory framework and corporate activity. The drivers behind expectations of a significant increase in investment and an acceleration of the industrial and corporate restructuring processes are forecasts of a growth in consumption rates and the effects of the gradual liberalization of the energy market.
The implementation of European Directive 98/30/CE is beginning to produce initial results in terms of opening up a protected market, which traditionally featured vertically integrated public monopolies. This new context favours significant investment policies for both gas operators seeking to expand their business, as well as utilities and oil companies eager to reap the opportunities resulting from growth in the sector.
Estimates of the evolution of natural gas consumption demonstrate that the European market is headed for rapid and significant growth over the period from 2000 to 2010. Compared to a consumption level of 413 Bcm (billion cubic metres) in 2000, a consumption of between 503 Bcm and 523 Bcm is foreseen for 2010, with an annual growth rate of between 2.0% and 2.4%.
Italy, which today is rated in third place for consumption, will contribute between 17.4% and 19.0% of overall growth in demand for natural gas in Europe over the 2000-2010 period. This increase in consumption will be led by a considerable increase in demand from the thermoelectric sector, which is...
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