ROME - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday he is pleased that Italy and Germany have agreed to push ahead with work on the construction of a pipeline to transport gas and hydrogen between the two countries.
"Strengthened cooperation on diversifying energy supply is very important for me. Expanding supply networks in Europe will benefit us all and certainly increase energy security," Scholz said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
"For that reason I am pleased that we have agreed to press on with the work on a new natural gas and hydrogen pipeline between Italy and Germany," he added.
Last month, Italy, Germany and Austria signed a letter of support for the development of a hydrogen-ready pipeline between North Africa and Europe, as European countries adapt to the realities of throttled energy exports from Russia.
The 3,300-km (2,050-mile) project is led by four major European transmission system operators: Snam, Trans Austria Gasleitung, Gas Connect Austria and Bayernets in Germany.
Sea Corridor, a joint venture between Snam and Italian energy group Eni operating the gas pipelines that connect North Africa with Italy, is also part of the consortium that will build the infrastructure, dubbed SoutH2 Corridor.
"On the energy front we agree that it is very important to ensure the diversification of our supply sources and to work on connecting infrastructures, particularly in the Mediterranean," said Meloni, who aims to turn Italy into an energy hub connecting Africa to northern Europe.
The SoutH2 Corridor, which could transport 4 million tonnes per year for green hydrogen according to technical detail designed by the consortium, is one of the three projects under review by the European Union for the non-fossil fuel.
(Writing by Anastasiia Kozlova and Francesca Landini Editing by Madeline Chambers and Leslie Adler)