Italy's Mario Draghi to visit Algeria as country aims to wean itself off Russian natural gas

Italy’s Mario Draghi to visit Algeria as country aims to wean itself off Russian natural gas

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is expected to visit Algeria Monday as part of a plan for his country to wean itself off Russian natural gas.

Italy, like other European nations, has been desperately looking for alternatives to natural gas from Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. Around 40% of total imports come from Russia.

Algeria is Italy’s second-largest supplier of natural gas, which is the main source of the nation’s electricity, providing some 21 billion cubic meters of gas via the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline.

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Italian energy company ENI has operated in Algeria for nearly 40 years. Last month, the company announced a significant oil and gas discovery in Algeria and said it would work with Algerian partner Sonatrach to fast-track its development for the third quarter of this year.

Draghi’s is expected to travel to Algeria with a delegation, including the head of Italian group Eni ENI.MI, energy transition minister Robert Cingolani, and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, a government source told Reuters.

In addition to Algeria, Italy’s foreign minister has traveled to Azerbaijan, Qatar, Congo, Angola and Mozambique to secure more deals.

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Algerian exports have been hampered by rising domestic consumption, lack of investment and political instability, and the closure of a pipeline to Spain over a dispute with Morocco.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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