Europe needs to put gas in its transition plan, Eni CEO says
Rome, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Europe needs to include natural gas in its long-term transition plan to ensure energy security and lower fuel prices, Eni's chief executive said on Friday.
Claudio Descalzi rejected the idea that Europe could rely only on renewables for its energy needs and said a cap on gas prices would not be a final solution to the energy crisis in the region.
"We have to put gas in the long-term energy transition coupled with other solutions, renewables are the first one but also the decarbonisation of the hard-to-abate," Descalzi said at an event in Rome.
He said natural gas demand in Europe has not fallen much in response to soaring prices showing that it is "inelastic" and suggesting that the only way to reduce prices is to increase supply.
"To do so we have to make investments for the long term - 10, 15, 20 years - and we have to recover those investments, but if gas is not in the energy mix for the future who is going to invest in it?" Descalzi said.
Speaking at the same event, Algeria's and Bahrain's energy ministers joined Descalzi in highlighting the need for long-term investments in the sector.
Bahrain Minister of Oil & Environment Mohamed bin Mubarak Bin Daina also warned about risks of a lending drought for fossil fuel projects as banks focus on ESG goals.
"Part of the banks ESG plan (focuses on) how much they are pumping into fossil fuel projects, and all of them are backing out to comply with their ESG plan," he said.
"We are sending the world mixed signals. Do we want energy now, or don't we?"
(Reporting by Francesca Landini in Milan and Crispian Balmer in Rome, editing by Gavin Jones and)