World Bulletin / News Desk
There will be no gas flows from Libya into Italy for a third straight day on Monday after clashes between local militias at the North African country's Mellitah complex, Italian gas transport group Snam said.
Mellitah, operated by Libya's National Oil Corporation and Italy's Eni, supplies Italy with gas through the Greenstream pipeline, which ends at the Sicilian port town of Gela and at full capacity pumps at least 8 billion cubic metres a year.
"We have not been getting any gas from Libya since Saturday afternoon and also for today the expectations are of zero gas flows," a Snam spokesman said.
The disruption at the Mellitah complex is the latest to hit the energy sector in Libya, where protests have shut down oil-export terminals in recent months, and comes after January's hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant.
The daily expected supply through the Greenstream pipeline for Monday would have been around 17.2 million cubic metres, data from Snam showed.
Italy gets most of its gas from Algeria, Russia, and Libya - which provides between 10 and 15 percent - while some comes from Norway and the Netherlands.
Italy will compensate the Libyan gas stoppage by raising imports from the Russian and Dutch pipelines, analysts said.
The halt in Libyan supply coincided with large scale gas supply falls due to unexpected pipeline outages in the North Sea, which at one point on Monday propelled British spot gas prices to five-year highs.
Unlike Britain, where most of the gas sold is on the spot market, Italy gets most of its gas through long-term contracts linked to the oil price.
In the past, Italy has approached Russia for extra emergency supplies when needed.
Shares in Eni and Snam were down 0.9 percent at 0940 GMT, overperforming Italy's main FTSE MIB index, which fell 1.5 percent on the day on protractred Italian political uncertainty.
Traders said the Mellitah clashes had limited impact on the two stocks as the stoppage is not expected to last long. Libya's defence ministry has sent security personnel to the Mellitah facility and gas exports should resume 48 hours after the compound is secured.
"We do not see a systemic risk for Italy since gas supply is currently large and demand continues to be low as winter draws to a close," an Italian energy analyst said.
Eni and Snam did not have details on when gas flows into Italy would resume.
Italy saw its gas imports from Libya suspended for several months during the 2011 civil war that ultimately led to the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
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