Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi held talks with Algeria’s president Monday to to boost gas deliveries and reduce Italy’s reliance on Russian supplies.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune welcomed Draghi and the two went on to sign agreements and memorandums of understanding in areas ranging from energy to sustainable development, justice and micro-enterprises.
The energy agreement signed on Monday is “a testament to our determination to achieve even more in this domain,” Draghi said, ahead of the expected signing of an oil and gas supply deal between Algeria and a clutch of companies including Italian energy giant Eni.
“Tomorrow, an important agreement between (US energy firm) Occidental (Petroleum), Eni and (French oil company) Total providing significant volumes of natural gas” to Italy will be signed, Tebboune earlier told reporters at a joint news conference with Draghi.
This contract will allow “the development of a site situated in the Berkine perimeter, and which should generate more than a billion barrels” of hydrocarbons, a government source told AFP.
Tebboune said the deal was worth $4 billion.
The government source confirmed that Algeria will also increase gas exports to Italy by four billion cubic metres in the coming days, as part of a deal reported Friday.
Italy buys the majority of its natural gas from abroad, with some 45 percent of its imports historically coming from Russia.
But Rome has increasingly looked to Algeria, historically its second biggest supplier, to reduce that dependence after the war in Ukraine sparked sanctions against Moscow and sent energy prices soaring.
Algeria has therefore supplanted Russia to “become in recent months the biggest supplier of gas” to Italy, Draghi told reporters on Monday.