Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni decided to expand energy cooperation with the largest gas exporter in Africa on the second day of her visit to Algeria, making Italy the newest European nation looking for supply agreements to lessen its dependency on Russia.
Meloni began a two-day visit to Algiers, the capital of Algeria, on Sunday.
“Facing the great energy crisis that Europe in particular is experiencing, Algeria could become a leader in production, certainly African but probably global”, Meloni said in a joint press conference with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Algiers.
Italy imported 95% of its gas requirements before to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with around 40% of that supply coming from Russia.
Rome has been looking more and more to Algeria, historically its second-largest supplier, to help lessen that dependence. This pipeline runs via Tunisia and under the Mediterranean Sea.
“Italy is inevitably the gateway for access for this energy and for Europe’s supply,” Meloni said.
Tebboune said that a deal had been reached between the countries of the Mediterranean regarding “the investigation and building of a pipeline” that might carry “gas, hydrogen, and ammonia” and could even have an electricity link.
He said it would make Italy “an energy hub for Europe” and noted that trade between Algeria and Italy had already doubled from $8 billion in 2021 to $16 billion in 2022.
In July, Mario Draghi, Meloni’s predecessor, inked a number of agreements with Tebboune, including a $4 billion oil and gas production-sharing contract between Algeria and multiple energy corporations.
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