Natural gas market and infrastructure

The gas industry in Italy is organized into three major phases:

  • Supply;
  • Transport (including activities related to storage and dispatching, transmission and distribution);
  • Marketing.

Supply of natural gas

Production: is the extraction of gas from underground. It is a free activity. The main operator is Eni SpA (90.04%).

Import: the main importers are: Eni group (64.1%), Enel (14.6%), Edison (9.5%).
The gas comes from abroad into the national grid through four points,, in particular natural gas pipelines from Russia, Holland and Algeria and an LNG receiving terminal located in Panigaglia (La Spezia).


Storage: It is a regulated activity (granting MAP) and the main operator is Stogit SpA (Eni group), 96.6%. The rate is fixed by the Authority.


Refers to the activity which is the equilibrium constant and real-time between supply and demand, and is strictly related to its transport is carried out with remote control functions that act on the inletpressure of the gas from natural deposits or from storage, also acting on the gas flows in certain parts of the network.


The transport phase includes the activity of conveying gas, which is done by pipeline or ship transport of liquefied natural gas that is kept liquid at low temperature (LNG).


Distribution is the transport of gas through pipeline networks to local facilities for customers. It is a regulated activity (granting the local authority). The main players were about 550 in the year 2004. Nowadays the distribution companies are 240 (the main include Italgas SpA -Eni group-, and Enel).


Sale: It is the business of selling to end users of gas purchased from wholesalers or imported. In Italy is a free activity. In 2010, he main players are about 230 companies, including Eni Gas & Power (Eni group) and Enel Gas (Enel). The price is free, however, the “Autorità per l’Energia Elettrica ed il Gas – AEEG” (Authority for Electricity and Gas) has defined the economic conditions.

Map (natural gas grid / storage facilities)

Natural gas grid in Italy

Gas grid infrastructure data

The transport network is divided into "primary" (or dorsal) on the transport of gas directly from production or import, and "secondary" covering all pipelines (adductors secondary) that connect the primary network and reach centers of consumption. The main line of Italian pipeline has a length of approximately 34,000 km and is extensively throughout the national territory (excluding Sardinia). The network of Snam represents 93,8% of the national primary network. Other operators are present with local networks, particularly in the Adriatic regions (Marche, Abruzzo and Molise).

According to the Delibera n. 120/01 “Definizione di criteri per la determinazione delle tariffe per il trasporto e dispacciamento del gas naturale e per l’utilizzo dei terminali di Gnl e della prenotazione di capacità” (Resolution No. 120/01 "Development of criteria for the determination of tariffs for the transportation and regasification of natural gas and the use of LNG terminals and the reservation of capacity") the distribution network of pipelines was divided into two parts:

the National Gas Pipeline Network, for a total of 9.268 km, and the regional transportation network for the remaining 24.500 km. 

The national network consists of pipelines, compressor stations connected to the pipelines. The regional transportation network consists of the remaining part of the carrier pipelines not included in the National Gas Pipeline Network and the plants connected to it. The main function is to move and distribute natural gas in defined territorial areas, typically on a regional scale. The transport service should be understood as an integrated service from those points of entry into the national network to the delivery points of the regional network.

The distribution is done by about 5.800 booths; almost 210.000 final reduction groups; almost 250.000 km networks (including 1.350 km non-operating), 41% on average pressure and 58% in low pressure.The networks are located mainly the North (148,500 km against 56,500 km of Center and the 43,700 Islands and the South). The networks, on average, belong 75% for the same distributors and 5% to the municipalities. The ownership of the networks, which can be the distributor of Municipality or other organizations (for this reason the sum of the percentages may not equal 100), however, varies quite significantly between different regions.

CNG infrastructure data

In Italy there are about 860 filling stations. The number of natural gas vehicles is about 760.000 vehicles.