Italy strengthens surveillance on gas pipelines after Nord Stream leaks

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ROME, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has strengthened naval surveillance and controls on the pipelines bringing gas to Italy from the south and east, two senior officials told Reuters.

The move comes after the discovery of leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines this week. EU states say they believe the damage was caused by sabotage but have stopped short of naming anyone. The Kremlin has said it did not rule out sabotage as the reason for the damage.

The Nord Stream leaks have raised concerns of potential sabotage of other European energy infrastructure.

Italy has put under heightened surveillance the TransMed pipeline, which connects Algeria to Sicily, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), running from Azerbaijan to Apulia, and the GreenStream connection, between Libya and Sicily, according to the officials.

Rome also raised its alert on the Trans Austria Gas (TAG) pipeline that brings fuel from the Nordics to the north-east of Italy.

To make up for a fall in Russian gas supplies, which normally represent 40% of the country’s total gas imports, Italy has been importing increasing gas supplies from Algeria and the Nordics in the past few months.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome and Francesca Landini in Milan; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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