In a situation where the contribution from imports, domestic production and storage are close to technical-contractual limits, the repeat of events such as the Russian gas crisis in the winter of 2006…may lead to the collapse of the system, Dow Jones quotes Mr Conti as telling a parliamentary hearing.

In the aftermath of the Russian gas crisis, when Gazprom cut its supplies to western Europe due to a problem with Ukraine, Italy was forced to implement several unexpected initiatives.

Mr Conti added that, apart from decreasing domestic gas production, the country also faces a problem in terms of storage.