May 7, 2019 / 4:39 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italy opposes Poseidon gas pipeline landfall

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ROME, May 7 (Reuters) - Italy will not allow the Poseidon gas pipeline being developed by Italy’s Edison and Greece’s DEPA to make landfall as planned in southern Italy, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday.

The Poseidon pipeline, which has permits to run from Greece to the southern town of Otranto, is the final section of the EastMed pipeline that aims to bring gas reserves from the east Mediterranean to Italy.

“The government is certainly not interested at present in building the final tract of Poseidon as originally planned,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at an event near Rome.

Two years ago DEPA and Edison signed a cooperation agreement with Russia’s Gazprom to set up joint efforts to create a southern route for gas into Europe.

The United States has been pressuring EU member states to find alternative natural gas supply sources not involving Russia.

But Conte said the pipeline could find a fit with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) being built to carry Azeri gas into the south of Italy.

The TAP pipeline is seen by many as a way of weaning Europe off over reliance on Russian gas.

“It could have development potential, a link to Italy,” Conte said.

Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement, part of the ruling coalition with right-wing Lega, has said it wants to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 by ramping up renewable energy production.

Edison, owned by France’s EDF, was not immediately available for a comment.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes; writing by Maria Pia Quaglia; editing by Jason Neely and Ed Osmond

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