Europe is looking to Africa for its energy needs as countries seek to cut reliance on Russian imports amid the conflict in Ukraine, according to media reports.
The EU’s third-largest economy, Italy, secured a deal last week with Algeria for more natural gas imports. The North African country already supplies gas to Europe via three pipelines, one of which goes to Italy. The two other pipelines are linked to Spain.
Italian energy supermajor Eni also signed an agreement on Wednesday with Egypt’s state-owned Natural Gas Holding Company to promote gas exports to Europe.
The deals come following a meeting between European ambassadors and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) last Monday, to “strengthen partnership” in the energy sector.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is expected to travel to central and southern Africa this week with potential deals in the Republic of Congo and Angola, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. All of these deals together could help to replace over half the supply Italy gets from Russia as early as 2023, according to Bloomberg.
Russia supplies around 40% of the EU’s gas and provides around a third of the bloc’s oil needs. Earlier in April, the European Union approved a ban on Russian coal, but could not reach an agreement on an oil and natural gas embargo.
Draghi told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday that Europe can wean itself off Russian energy imports through diversification in a time frame that was “shorter than what we imagined just a month ago.”
The PM added: “We no longer want to depend on Russian gas, because economic dependence must not become political subjugation. To do this, we need to diversify energy sources and find new suppliers.”
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