At its Board of Directors’ meeting of 17 December, the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a loan of EUR 1.3 billion in support of projects to improve security of gas supply in Italy. An initial tranche of EUR 200 million was signed today in Milan with the Eni Group, which with a total share of EUR 1.1 billion is the main beneficiary of the EIB loan.

The EUR 2.7 billion multiannual investment plan presented by the Eni Group for the Exploration & Production sector in Italy specifically concerns 26 offshore projects. Some of these will be implemented by Eni in a joint venture with Edison (EDF Group), which will receive a tranche of the loan totalling EUR 200 million. The projects concern the maintenance and upgrading of existing wells and facilities and the installation of new platforms.

This operation is highly strategic for Italy. Currently, 70% of Italy’s gas supply comes from non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries that may present geopolitical risks for energy supply. The operation comes under traditional EIB areas of financing, i.e. security of energy supply (including TEN-E, trans-European energy networks) and regional cohesion given that a large number of the projects are located in southern Italy.