Italy could spend 60 billion euros ($59.7 billion) more on energy imports in 2022, compared to last year, which is about 3% of the country’s GDP, the Minister of Economy and Finance said.

Iran PressEurope: "In 2021, 43 billion [euros] was spent on energy, in 2022 we reached 100 [billion euros, or $99.5 billion]," Daniele Franco said on Saturday, at the Ambrosetti economic forum in Cernobbio, as quoted by Italy's La Stampa newspaper.

He added that 100 billion euros amount to three percentage points of the gross domestic product - an outflow of Italian resources abroad, which nullifies the surplus that Italy has accumulated in recent years.

According to Franco, in 2021, Italy imported three-quarters of the amount of energy it needs. The minister stressed that Italy should achieve energy independence from Russia by 2024.

Italian Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani said last month that the share of Russian gas supplies had been reduced from 40% to 15%. According to Cingolani, Italy should become completely independent of Russian gas supplies in the second half of 2024.

On Friday, Russia’s Gazprom said that the Nord Stream gas pipeline had been shut down for an indefinite period due to a malfunction of the only remaining working engine.

The Nord Stream pipeline, which is the main gas supply route to Europe, had been operating at 40% capacity until mid-June with a further drop to just 20% in July as Western sanctions impeded the return of the pipeline's turbines after repairs abroad.