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Last Updated: August 2017

Overview


Map of Italy
Map of Italy
  • Italy is the fourth-largest energy consumer in Europe, after Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Italy’s primary energy consumption is driven by petroleum and other liquids and natural gas, which accounted for more than over three-quarters of Italy’s total consumption in 2016. The remaining shares are coal, hydroelectricity, and other renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources, excluding hydroelectricity, have increased their share in Italy’s energy consumption from less than 2% in 2005 to nearly 10% in 2016. As a net importer of crude oil and natural gas, Italy is heavily dependent on imports to meet about 93% of its oil and natural gas needs and to maintain its exports of refined petroleum products.

Petroleum and other liquids

  • Net imports of petroleum and other liquids were slightly higher than 1.2 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016.
  • Italy is a major oil refining center in Europe and is a significant exporter of refined products, exporting about 0.6 million b/d in 2016. Italy has the second-largest crude oil refining capacity in Europe after Germany, with a total capacity of slightly more than 2.1 million b/d from 13 crude oil refineries, according to Oil & Gas Journal.
  • Italy is also a major transit country for crude oil. The Transalpine Pipeline starts in Trieste on Italy’s northeastern coast and can transport up to 900,000 b/d of crude oil to destinations in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Natural gas

  • Italy is the second-largest natural gas importer in Europe after Germany, and the third-largest consumer of natural gas after Germany and the United Kingdom. Natural gas imports were 2.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2016, and dry natural gas production that year was 0.2 Tcf. Natural gas imports accounted for about 92% of the total natural gas supply in Italy.
  • Most of Italy’s natural gas imports come from Russia via pipelines across Ukraine and from southeastern Europe. Natural gas sent by pipeline from Russia accounted for about 44% of Italy’s total natural gas imports in 2016.
  • Italy has natural gas pipeline connections to Algeria and Libya across the Mediterranean Sea and to northern European producers via Switzerland. Russia remains the largest natural gas supplier to Italy, with a 44% share of Italy’s import volumes in 2016. Pipeline imports from Algeria and Libya accounted for almost 37% of Italy’s natural gas imports in 2016. Algerian natural gas shipments to Italy fell after 2011 because of lower Italian natural gas demand, sluggish growth in Algerian natural gas production, and higher Algerian domestic natural gas demand. However, Algerian exports to Italy rebounded in 2016, almost tripling from the 2015 level as a result of production from the new natural gas fields in Algeria. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), one of three pipelines in various stages of construction, is designed to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and southern Europe. The TAP began construction in 2015 and is due to begin operations by 2020.
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports accounted for about 9% of Italy’s total natural gas supply in 2016, most of which came from Qatar.

Electricity

  • In 2016, about 67% of Italy’s electricity production came from fossil fuels, while renewable energy, including hydroelectricity, was responsible for roughly 33% of the country’s electricity production. The government’s National Energy Strategy calls for renewables to surpass natural gas as the primary fuel for electric power generation by 2020.
  • Supported by government subsidies, the share of non hydroelectric generation (mainly wind and solar photovoltaic) in Italy’s electricity portfolio has grown quickly, from less than 1% in 2000 to 18% in 2016. Although cutbacks on renewable subsidies occurred in 2014, in June 2016, the Italian government approved a $10 billion subsidy for renewable energy projects, particularly for biomass, wind, and thermodynamic solar projects, over the next 20 years.
  • Italy imported about 16% of its electric power supply in 2016. About half of Italy’s imports of electricity came from France.