Venice, Italy / TEH: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will travel to Algeria on Monday to sign an agreement to buy more natural gas, in a new effort to obtain alternative energy sources to reduce dependence on Russia.
The planned agreement between Italy and Algeria comes as the first tangible result of previous visits by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to energy-producing countries to secure alternative sources, including Azerbaijan, Qatar, Congo, Angola and Mozambique.
Russia is the largest supplier of gas to Italy, providing 40 percent of total imports, followed by Algeria, which supplies about 21 billion cubic meters of gas through the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline.
The new deal is scheduled to add an additional 9 billion cubic meters of Algerian gas, exceeding the 29 billion cubic meters that Russia provides to Italy annually, according to the US Associated Press.
Draghi is accompanied on his visit to Algeria by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Energy Minister Roberto Cingolani, and CEO of the Italian energy company Eni Claudio Descalzi.
Europe is seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas imports, urgently, in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
The concern is rising in Europe that Russia may shut down gas pipelines, The Eastern Herald digital magazine reported, in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on it, a threat that would have devastating effects on the continent’s economy.
Recently, Lithuania, one of the former Soviet Union countries, succeeded in completely halting Russian gas imports, especially after Moscow demanded that European countries pay gas payments in rubles, in an attempt to support the local currency.