Italgas lifts spending to prepare gas grid for energy transition

MILAN, June 15 (Reuters) - Italgas pledged to spend more on its gas distribution network in Italy to prepare to transport hydrogen and renewable gas as the transition to cleaner fuels picks up pace.

Italy’s biggest gas distributor said on Tuesday it would spend 7.9 billion euros ($9.6 billion) up to 2027 to upgrade and grow its core network, promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.

“The largest number of investments is allocated for the repurposing of the 73,000 kilometre (45,360 mile) network and its further extension to unreached territories,” Italgas Chief Executive Paolo Gallo said.

It said it would also consider acquisitions to extend its grid.

Gas network operators across Europe are increasingly looking at ways to blend natural gas with cleaner gases such as hydrogen as the transition to cleaner fuels speeds up.

The group, which earmarked 2 billion euros for gas distribution tenders, said it expected its core earnings to rise to around 1.6 billion euros in 2027 from an estimated 1 billion euros this year. ($1 = 0.8247 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Louise Heavens)