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Italy To Wean Itself Off Russian Gas Within Two Years

Italy is expected to eliminate imports of Russian natural gas by the winter of 2024/2025, Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive of energy major Eni, said on Monday during a visit to Algeria.

Italy, one of the biggest buyers of Russian gas in Europe before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will be independent of Moscow’s gas by the winter of 2024/2025, Descalzi told reporters on the sidelines of meetings on energy security in Algiers.

Eni and Algerian state oil and gas firm Sonatrach signed an agreement today to identify possible measures to improve Algeria’s energy export capacity to Europe, identify renewable energy development projects, and reduce emissions.

“The partnership between Italy and Algeria gets stronger today, and Algeria’s key role as one of Europe’s main energy suppliers is confirmed,” Eni’s Descalzi said after the signing of the agreements witnessed by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Earlier this month, Descalzi told the Financial Times that Europe should look to Africa for a “south-north” energy axis that would deliver gas from Africa to the EU, which is scrambling to replace Russian pipeline supply.

Eni is a major player in many African countries and has signed several agreements to boost gas supply from Africa to Europe since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the slump in Russia’s gas deliveries via pipeline.

In April 2022, less than two months after Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine, Descalzi and the president of Algeria’s state energy firm Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, signed an agreement that will allow Eni to increase the quantities of gas imported through the TransMed/Enrico Mattei pipeline as part of a long-term gas supply contract in place with Sonatrach.

In October, Eni announced the start of production from two gas fields within the new Berkine South contract in Algeria, with volumes intended for the European market. And the following month, Eni announced the first shipment of LNG produced from the Coral gas field in the ultra-deep waters of the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique.

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Last week, Eni announced a significant new gas discovery offshore Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean.   

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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