A glossary of financial, commercial and technical terms, as well as units of measurement, is available online at The most common terms are described below.

Economic and financial terms

Excise duty

Indirect tax for immediate payment, applied to the production or consumption of certain industrial goods (including oil products and natural gas).

Amortisation and depreciation

Process by which the cost of fixed assets is spread over a certain period, usually the useful life of the asset.

Non-current assets

Balance sheet item which shows long-lasting assets, net of amortisation, depreciation and impairment losses. These are divided into the following categories: “Property, plant and equipment”, “Compulsory inventories”, “Intangible assets”, “Equity investments”, “Financial assets” and “Other non-current assets”.

Net working capital

Capital which is invested in short-term assets and an indicator of a company’s short-term financial position. Calculated using all short-term, non-financial assets and liabilities.

Net invested capital

Net investments of an operational nature, being the sum of net working capital and fixed assets.

cash flow

Liquid assets generated by a company over a certain period of time. Specifically, the difference between current inflows (mainly cash revenue) and current cash outflows (costs in the period that generated cash outflows).

Controllable fixed costs

Fixed operating costs of regulated activities, being the sum of “Total recurring personnel expense” and “Recurring external operating costs”.

Operating costs

Costs incurred in carrying out a company’s core business. These include: purchases, services, energy, consumables, personnel expense and maintenance.


Payment to shareholders, voted for by the shareholders’ meeting and proposed by the board of directors.

Dividend payout

Ratio between the dividend and net profit for the period, and equal to the percentage of profits paid out to shareholders in the form of dividends.

Net financial debt

Indicator of the ability to meet financial obligations. Represented by gross financial debt minus cash and cash equivalents as well as other financial receivables not held for operations.


Costs of long-lasting assets where useful life does not expire over one reporting period.


Indicator of financial structure; measures a company’s level of debt and is calculated as the percentage ratio of net financial debt to net invested capital.

Net financial expense

Net cost incurred for using third-party capital. Includes other net expense related to financial operations.

Shareholders’ equity

Total resources contributed by shareholders, plus retained profits and minus losses.


Used by the group in its internal (business plan) and external (to analysts and investors) presentations. Unit of measurement to assess the group’s operating performance, as a whole and in the individual business segments, in addition to EBIT. Determined by the difference between revenue and operating costs.

Core business revenue

Income from selling goods and/or providing services that are integral to the core business, including all recurring economic values linked to a company’s typical field of business.


A financial instrument is called a derivative when its price/yield profile derives from the price/yield parameters of other major instruments – known as “underlying” – such as commodities, currencies, interest rates, securities and share indices.


Difference in a given period between sales and services revenues and other revenues and costs. It is therefore the operating result before financial revenues and costs and taxes.

Net profit

EBIT minus result from financial operations and income taxes.


Commercial terms

Transportation capacity

Transportation capacity is the maximum quantity of gas which can be injected into the system (or withdrawn from it) during the course of a gas day, at a specific location, in compliance with the technical and operating restrictions established for each section of pipeline and the maximum supplies of plants located along such pipelines. These capacities are assessed using hydraulic network simulations carried out in appropriate transportation scenarios and in accordance with recognised technical standards.

Network code

Document governing the rights and obligations of those involved in providing transportation and regasification services.

Regulatory period

Period of time (usually four years) for which criteria are defined for setting tariffs for transporting and dispatching natural gas and for regasifying liquefied natural gas. For transportation, we are currently in the third regulatory period, which runs from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2013. For regasification, the third regulatory period runs from 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2012.

Network entry point

Each point or a localised group of physical points on the gas transportation network at which gas is delivered to the transporter.

Redelivery point

This is the physical network point, or local combination of physical points, at which the Transporter redelivers gas transported to the User, and where such gas is metered.

Virtual exchange point (VEP)

A virtual point located between the Points of Entry and Points of Exit of the National Transportation Network (RN) where Users and other authorised entities may, on a daily basis, exchange and sell gas injected in the RN.

Regasification tariffs

Unit prices applied for regasification. These include capacity and commodity tariffs, related to the required regasification capacity and to the volumes of gas actually unloaded from tankers, respectively.

Transportation tariffs

Unit prices applied for transporting and dispatching natural gas. These include capacity and commodity tariffs, related to the required transportation capacity and to the volumes of gas actually injected into the network, respectively.


The user of the gas system, which, by confirming the capacity granted, acquires transportation capacity for its own use or assignment to others.

Technical terms

Natural gas

Hydrocarbon mixture consisting mainly of methane, and to a lesser degree, ethane, propane and higher hydrocarbons. Natural gas injected in the gas pipeline network must comply with a single quality specification to ensure that the gas in transit is interchangeable.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Natural gas comprised essentially of methane liquefied by cooling at around -160°C, at atmospheric pressure, to make it suitable for tanker transportation or reservoir storage. In order to be injected into the transportation network, the liquid must be reconverted into a gas at regasification plants and brought to the operating pressure of the pipelines.

Natural gas transportation network

The aggregate of gas pipelines, line plants, compression stations and infrastructure, which, at the national and regional level, provide the transportation of gas by interconnecting with international transportation networks, production and storage points and redelivery points for the purposes of distribution and use.

Regional transportation network

This consists of gas pipelines not included in the list in Article 2 of the Ministerial Decree of 22 December 2000, as updated annually, and its main function is to move and distribute gas in demarcated local areas, which are typically regional in scale.

National transportation network

This consists of the gas pipelines indicated in Article 2 of the Ministerial Decree of 22 December 2000, as updated annually. It is the aggregate of gas pipelines and plants which have been assessed and checked taking into account restrictions imposed by imports, exports, key national production and storage facilities, and is used to transfer significant quantities of gas from these network injection points to major areas of consumption. Several inter-regional gas pipelines as well as smaller pipelines which serve to close network links formed by the above pipelines are also included for the same purpose. The National Transportation Network also includes compression stations and plants connected to the pipelines described above.

LNG regasification

Industrial process whereby natural gas is converted from a liquid to a gaseous state.


Commercial terms

Thermal year

Period of time into which the regulatory period is divided. Starting 1 January 2011, the thermal year will coincide with the calendar year. The last thermal year, which began on 1 April 2009 and ended on 31 December 2010, was extended, for tariff purposes, once by nine months from 1 April 2010 to 31 December 2010.

Withdrawal phase

Period from 1 November to 31 March of the following year.

Injection phase

Period from 1 April to 31 October of the same year.

Regulatory period

Period of time (usually four years) for which criteria are defined for setting tariffs for natural gas storage services. We are currently in the third regulatory period, which runs from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014.

Technical terms

Modulation storage

The goal of modulation storage is to respond to changing hourly, daily and seasonal demands.

Mining storage

Mining storage is necessary for technical and economic reasons in order to enable optimum cultivation of Italy’s natural gas fields.

Strategic storage

The goal of strategic storage is to provide for a lack of or reduction in supplies from non-EU imports or crises in the gas system.


Commercial terms

Tariff area

The tariff area is the area used to determine distribution tariffs and consists of all communities served by the same distribution plant. If several local authorities collectively designate an operator to perform the distribution service, or declare themselves a single tariff area, the tariff area coincides with the group of municipalities served through several distribution plants by one or more operators.

Thermal year

Period of time into which the regulatory period is divided, currently coinciding with the calendar year.

End client

Consumer who buys gas for his own use.

Network code

Document governing the rights and obligations of those involved in providing gas distribution services.


Act by which a local authority entrusts to a company the management of a service which falls within the remit of said authority and for which said company assumes the operational risk.

Regulatory period

Period of time (usually four years) for which criteria are defined for setting tariffs for gas distribution services. We are currently in the third regulatory period, which runs from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2012.

Redelivery point

This is the point of demarcation between the gas distribution plant and the plant owned or managed by the end customer at which the distribution company redelivers gas transported for supply to the end customer, and at which metering occurs.

Gas distribution service

Service of transporting natural gas through networks of local pipelines from one or more delivery points to redelivery points, generally at low pressure and in urban areas, for delivery to end clients.

Retail Company

Company which, by way of a contract giving it access to the networks managed by a distributor, sells the gas.

Technical terms

Gas distributed

Amount of gas delivered to users of the distribution network at the redelivery points.


Difference between revenues for the period (annual TRL) and those invoiced to retail companies on the basis of volumes distributed. The net position with the Equalisation Fund is established at the end of the thermal year and settled over the course of the year on the basis of advanced payments.

TRL (Total Revenue Limit)

Total revenues allowed for distribution companies by the regulatory body to cover costs for providing distribution and metering services.