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Italy, Germany, Austria sign letter to support hydrogen pipeline

MILAN, May 9 (Reuters) – Energy ministries of Italy, Germany and Austria have signed a joint letter of support for the development of a hydrogen-ready pipeline between North Africa and Europe, Italian gas grid operator Snam (SRG.MI) said on Tuesday.

Snam, one of the companies behind the project, said the three countries expressed their backing for related infrastructure projects to obtain the status of European Union Project of Common Interest (PCI), which would give them access to certain EU funds and fast-tracked permits.

Europe is attempting to scale up its production and imports of renewable hydrogen – a fuel manufactured using renewable electricity, which countries are betting on to cut fossil fuel use in industrial processes like steel-making.

The so-called SouthH2 Corridor would connect North Africa, Italy, Austria and Germany, allowing renewable hydrogen produced in the Southern Mediterranean to reach European consumers, Snam said.

The 3,300-km project is led by four major European transmission system operators (TSOs): Snam, Trans Austria Gasleitung (TAG), Gas Connect Austria (GCA) and bayernets in Germany.

With a hydrogen import capacity of more than 4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) from North Africa, the pipeline could deliver 40% of an EU hydrogen import target set for 2030, and could be operational by as early as that year, Snam said.

Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Alvise Armellini

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