On Saturday, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio travelled to Qatar for two days of discussions on strengthening energy cooperation, as Rome ramped up attempts to secure fresh gas supplies in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis.
Underscoring the rapid push to strengthen ties with the gas-rich Gulf state, Prime Minister Mario Draghi also met with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, with energy high on the agenda, according to Draghi’s office.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West imposed broad sanctions that threaten to impede commodity flows, creating the prospect of gas shortages, outages, and significant price spikes.
Italy is particularly vulnerable. It generates 40% of its power using gas, and imports meet more than 90% of its gas requirements. Last year, Russia accounted for 40% of those imports, and the administration has stated that it wishes to reduce its dependency.