By John Ikani
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has announced a major gas deal with Algeria, which promises to reduce his country’s heavy reliance on Russian imports.
Speaking while on a visit to the Algerian capital, Algiers, Mr Draghi said his government had signed a preliminary agreement on energy cooperation with Algeria.
“Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine I announced that Italy would move with the utmost speed to reduce dependence from Russian gas.
“Today’s agreements are a significant response to this strategic goal. Others will follow,” he said.
Russia is Italy’s biggest supplier of natural gas, representing 40 per cent of total imports, followed by Algeria, which provides some 21 billion cubic meters of gas via the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline.
Under the deal from this autumn, increased gas supplies will be sent through the Transmed undersea pipeline, which links Algeria to Italy via Tunisia.