Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Algiers announced that Italy signed an energy cooperation deal with Algeria to reduce its dependence on natural gas from Russia.
Before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia supplied Italy with 29 billion cubic metres of gas per year, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s total usage, according to data from Draghi’s office on Monday.
Algeria was second on that list, supplying 21 billion cubic metres per year through the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline, Xinhua news agency reported.
Under the terms of Monday’s agreement, Algeria will provide an additional nine billion cubic metres of gas, allowing Italy to reduce imports from Russia and moving Algeria to the top spot.
After meeting with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the Italian Prime Minister told a press conference in Algiers that the two governments signed a broad declaration of intent focused on bilateral cooperation on energy-related issues along with the deal to export more gas to Italy.
Monday’s agreement is “a significant response” to Italy’s strategic goal of reducing dependence on Russian gas, Draghi said, adding “other agreements will follow”.
The technical aspects of the gas agreement will be carried out by Italian energy giant Eni and Algeria’s Sonatrach.