Italy inks deal with Algeria to increase gas imports
The Italian Prime Minister has stated the step is a significant one to reduce the reliance on Russian energy imports.
Algeria and Italy have inked agreements to improve energy connections and expand Algeria's energy exports to Italy.
On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced the agreements in Algeria, saying they were an important step in Italy's efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
In the capital Algiers, he told reporters that "others will follow."
Italy, which is largely reliant on foreign gas, purchased 29 billion cubic meters (bcm) from Russia last year, accounting for around 40% of its total gas imports.
Draghi stated that the gas agreement with Algeria had been signed by the two leading energy firms in the nation, Eni and Sonatrach.
The Italian PM stated that Italy was willing to collaborate with Algeria to promote renewable energy and green hydrogen as part of a bigger declaration of purpose.
The two countries had a pre-existing contract for gas deliveries until 2027.
Since the war in Ukraine, and since the West imposed sanctions on Russia, Italian officials have contacted a number of nations, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Azerbaijan, and Qatar, to seek an alternate gas supply.
Last week, Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani stated that Italy expects to receive an additional 10 billion cubic meters of gas this year via pipelines from Algeria, Libya, and Azerbaijan.
Aside from increasing pipeline capacity from the south, it wants to enhance liquefied natural gas imports from markets such as Qatar, the United States, and Mozambique.
According to Cingolani, Italy's three existing LNG terminals could be fully utilized to deliver four to five billion cubic meters of additional gas, while two new floating storage and regasification units could provide around ten billion cubic meters of additional supply in the medium term.
Regarding sanctions on Russia, Draghi last week revealed that Italy is willing to "follow the decisions of the EU."
EU not united, failed over fresh sanctions on Russia
EU foreign ministers failed to reach a decision on sanctions against Russia's oil and gas, but agreed to continue discussions, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said following a meeting of the EU Foreign Council in Luxembourg.
In a meeting with the foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Borell said that "certainly ministers will discuss which are the further steps," after the five rounds of sanctions that were already held since Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.
The fifth round of sanctions included a ban on Russian coal imports into the EU -- a step that could become a wider ban on energy supplies.
According to Borrell, the Kremlin has made more than 35 billion euros ($38 billion) in gas, oil, and coal sales to the European Union.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin does not object to the expansion of the sanctions, but emphasized the need for EU unity to facilitate their adoption.