Oil&nonOil, “Fit for 55” must be neutral: the sector demands promotion for Italy’s own resources

  EXHIBITION, Oil&nonOil 2021 Verona

The “Fit for 55” package of legislative proposals adopted by the European Commission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 was the theme of the closing of the 16th Oil&nonOil event at Veronafiere: “Green Europe and the future of the energy market”

The energy transition must actually be a transition and one that is faced with a neutral approach from the point of view of technologies: this is the unanimous request of sector representatives in pertinent highlighting critical aspects.

Alice di Pace, communications manager at UPEI – The voice of Europe’s independent fuel suppliers, sent a video message supporting the “need to restore a central role to the concept of technological neutrality” and promote an environmental impact assessment method based on life cycle analysis.
Sebastiano Gallitelli, Secretary General of Assopetroli-Assoenergia, felt that the proposed review of emission limits “indirectly decrees the end of the internal combustion engine” whereas “we ought to certify internal combustion engine vehicles using low carbon fuels as zero emission vehicles”.
Marina Barbanti, Director General of Unione energie per la mobilità (Unem), highlighted the need to use as many sources of energy as possible while also promoting national resources, avoid giving up existing infrastructure assets and address broad demand, rather than niche markets, not the least with a view to exporting mature technologies. Focusing on “technologies with leadership outside Europe and issues even as regards raw materials is something we do not understand”, he said in relation to the electric sector.
Alternative liquid and gas products that could replace the currently most widely used fossil fuels saw comments by Andrea Arzà, President of Federchimica-Assogasliquidi, who pointed out the need to consider the special territorial features of Italy, the country’s component industry and the development of the “LPG and methane retrofit” sector; Flavio Merigo, President of Assogasmetano, and Dante Natali, President of Federmetano, spoke in support of bio-methane. Merigo also emphasized the need “to take what is happening in other parts of the world into account”, while Natali concluded that “internal combustion engines must not be killed off and that biofuels are a necessary solution”.
Elio Ruggeri, Vice President of Assocostieri, acknowledged the value in the Commission’s “holistic” package but nevertheless noted that LNG has been “accepted as a transitional fuel” whereas “it should be recognized as a strategic one”.

These requests in the sector found echoes in the remarks of the political exponents attending the event. Vannia Gava, Undersecretary at the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (Mite), sent a message acknowledging that “the concerns of automotive companies are perfectly understandable”. “Completing the transition in the automotive field to electric power by 2035 is simply not possible except at the price of closing our own companies and handing over market shares to certain groups,” she admitted. “We must defend all the companies in your field – a fundamental sector – against too sudden changes,” she added. Similarly, Massimo Berutti, a member of the Senate Public Works and Communications Commission, who closed the proceedings, stated that one cannot help but think about “processes, investments made and the fabric of individual countries”.

Competitiveness was the keyword for Marco Campomenosi, a member of the Committee for Transport and Tourism (Tran) of the European Parliament, who noted that European Union has expressed “a very strong ideological vision” which nevertheless requires “corrective action”. In the case of Italy, he commented, “the sectors where we should focus our defence” must be identified, such as LNG, and others that must be retained. Sara Moretto, a member of the Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Production, Business and Tourism, also highlighted the need for and promised a commitment towards “maintaining industrial sectors that have and still are strategic”. Luca Sut, a member of the same Parliamentary Commission, focused on the opportunity for “using the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) to build an Italian battery supply chain”, while also insisting on recycling aspects given the absence of raw materials.