Meloni eyes African oil, gas; lands in Libya after Algeria visit
The Italian Prime Minister lands in Libya to discuss energy and immigration after concluding energy deals while in Algeria a few days ago.
Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni landed in Libya's capital Tripoli on an official visit, Libyan state media reported.
Meloni is the first European leader to visit the war-torn country since former Italian PM Mario Draghi back in April 2021.
The Prime Minister was received by the head of the National Unity Government Abdel Hamid Dbeibah based in Tripoli, who she is supposed to hold talks with on energy and immigration.
Libya sits atop Africa's biggest oil reserves but has been engulfed by conflict since the 2011 NATO-backed aggression on the country, resulting in the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi and later killing him.
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Italy, a former colony of Libya, has increased its trade with the African country to a large extent, especially in energy where Italy has been scrambling to find alternatives to Russian energy since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Rome also aims to act as an intermediary of energy trade between northern Europe and Africa in the upcoming years, thus they aim to intensify their energy imports from African countries, such as Libya and Algeria, which are two of the most oil-rich African nations.
Earlier this week, Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced on Wednesday that it had reached an $8-billion deal with Italian energy giant ENI to develop offshore hydrocarbon sites.
Accompanying Meloni will be the head of ENI who is set to officially sign the agreement with NCO to develop two offshore gas fields in the North African country that are estimated to produce 850 million cubic meters of gas.
Last Monday, Meloni was visiting Algeria, another African country the Italian Prime Minister is hoping would secure more diverse imports of energy products, mainly gas, for her country.
On her first visit to Algiers, Meloni met with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and the two energy companies signed new agreements.
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Italian Eni and Algerian Sonatrach will work on joint projects to increase energy export capacity, the Italian group said on Monday, as Rome strives to become a bridge for African trade with Europe.
According to Meloni, Eni and Sonatrach will study ways to facilitate the transport of gas and will work on a new pipeline to carry hydrogen.
She also mentioned expanding Algeria's capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) and laying an undersea electrical cable between the two countries.