The Italian Almanac

Brindisi

Italian News - June 23

Politicians of all colors in the southern region of Apulia have demanded that Rome revoke a decree authorizing the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Brindisi -- the latest protests against new industrial projects in Italy. "We have a lot of industry in Brindisi. Why do we need an LNG terminal on top of it? We have already given more to the country than any other region," Mayor Domenico Mennitti said.

The "not in my back yard" syndrome has already cost Italy millions of Euros in abandoned industrial deals which could have boosted its sluggish economy. Caught in a conundrum, Italians pay the highest electricity bills in Europe but have resisted new power facilities because they could pollute the air or damage the landscape.

Italy is Europe's third-biggest gas market and is hungry for gas to feed its growing demand, which is expected to hit 95 billion cubic meters in 2010 from the current 80 billion. Energy analysts say the terminal, with a capacity of 8 billion cubic meters, would be vital for meeting demand and diversifying gas supply.

The project has already suffered delays and last week Italy's biggest utility Enel pulled out, selling its 50 percent stake to its partner, British oil and gas giant BG Group, which is determined to go ahead with the deal. But Apulia's regional president, communist Nichi Vendola, has vowed to block construction of a terminal he has dubbed a "monster."