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By Francesca Landini and Giancarlo Navach
MILAN (Reuters) - Italy should not need to cut its gas consumption by 15% in the winter as proposed by the European Commission, the chief executive of gas distributor Italgas said on Monday.
"Thanks to the activity of the government... the upcoming winter should be not so critical for Italy," Paolo Gallo said, adding that the 15% reduction in gas used in the country should not be required.
Italy has been reducing its reliance on Russian gas since the invasion of Ukraine and is aiming to get its storage facilities filled in time for winter.
Gallo added it would however be up to Italian policymakers to take a final decision on Brussels' plan.
The European Commission proposed last week that the 27 EU member states each cut their gas use by 15% from August to March. The target would be voluntary, but the Commission could make it binding in a gas supply emergency.
Brussels has urged countries to curb gas use now to help fill storage ahead of winter, but the EU plan has faced resistance from a number of governments.
The latest proposal, drafted by the Czech Republic, offers a range of exemptions to the binding target to use less gas.
The Italgas CEO made his comments during a conference call after the gas distributor reported a 6.3% rise year on year in first-half revenue to 707 million euros ($723 million), driven also by the expansion of the business that helps companies and households to enhance energy efficiency.
Italgas is on track to meet a full-year guidance for its adjusted core profit of between 1 billion and 1.03 billion euros and does not see risks for its business in case of a prolonged halt of gas supplies from abroad.
The group expects to finalise the acquisition of Greece's DEPA Infrastructure in early September and has already put in place a financing package for the deal, the top executives said.
($1 = 0.9783 euros)
(Editing by Giulia Segreti)