Italy has signed an agreement to increase Algerian gas imports by about 40 percent as part of its first major deal to find alternative sources of supplies since Russia’s widespread invasion of Ukraine.
During a visit to Algeria, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the agreements were an important step in Italy’s efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas, Reuters reported.
“He will be followed by others,” he told reporters after meeting with Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebbun.
Italy, which receives about 40 percent of Russia’s gas imports, is now trying to diversify its energy supply structure. Authorities have approached many countries, including Congo, Angola, Azerbaijan and Qatar, to replace the 29 billion cubic meters of gas they receive from Russia.
A statement from Italian energy group Eni (ENI.Mi) said it had agreed with Algeria’s Sonatrach to gradually increase flows in the Transmed pipeline starting this year and to plan to reach an additional 9 billion cubic meters of gas per year. , until 2023-2024.
Russian gas refusal in Europe
Italy is not the only country looking for alternative sources of supply. The European Commission has proposed that Europe reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and phase them out by 2027.
With one of the largest gas transmission networks in Europe, Italy is seen as a future bridgehead to Europe for green gas and hydrogen produced in North Africa and beyond. According to Mario Draghi, Italy is also ready to work with Algeria to develop renewable energy and green hydrogen.
At the same time, the Vice President of the European Commission, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, is convinced that the rejection of Russian gas will not stop Russia’s war against Ukraine.
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