Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the torrent of sanctions by world powers, countries like Italy have begun pushing to cut their reliance on Russian hydrocarbon supplies.
Italian energy giant Eni and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach recently reached an agreement to boost both gas exploration and the development of green hydrogen in the North African nation, with hopes to break Italy free of Russian gas by the second half of 2024.
“Every time production increases, we will be able to supply it to Italy, which can then send it to the rest of Europe,” Tebboune said after meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarell.
Last year, Italy sourced around 40 percent of its gas imports from Russia, but after Russia’s much-condemned invasion, the European country has been scrambling to diversify its energy supply mix as Russia’s conflict in Ukraine escalates. Diversifying away from Russia is the main reason behind attempts to accelerate the development of gas fields in Algeria.
Algeria was Italy’s second-biggest gas supplier last year after Russia and has been pumping Algerian gas to Italian shores since 1983 through the Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline, which runs to Sicily.
Gas production volumes expected from the areas covered by the new agreement are equal to some 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year and will contribute to increasing the export capacity of Algeria to Italy through the TransMed pipeline, Italy’s energy giant Eni said.
Thursday’s signing is part of an agreement reached by the two energy groups in April when they announced they would gradually increase gas flows in the pipeline starting this year and eventually reach 9 bcm of extra gas per year by 2023-24.