Italian energy company Snam has launched a 33 million euro tender to convert its fleet to CNG in a sign of its commitment to develop natural gas fueling stations in the country. It set a February 16 deadline for bids from European companies to transform its 1,500 vehicle fleet. The supply contracts will be for three years.
Snam, which is Europe’s biggest gas pipeline operator, will also invest 150 million euros to build 300 new CNG stations to beef up Italy’s existing 1,100 points.
Italy is a pioneer and leader in the manufacture and sales of natural gas cars, with motorists guzzling more than 1 billion cubic meters in 2015 and about 1 million vehicles in circulation.
Snam CEO Marco Alvera told Reuters that by adding more stations the market could expand to 2-3 million vehicles. “I think the future will be natural gas and electricity,” he added.
Snam is looking to play a key role in helping develop new natural gas infrastructure and technology for Italy’s transport sector including the use of LNG to drive ships. It has already signed deals with oil major Eni and leading petrol pump network API as well as carmaker Fiat Chrysler.