ROME: Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Monday met with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra and Mohamed Arkab, minister for energy and mines, in Algiers.
They discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation over energy supplies in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
A diplomatic source told Arab News that the talks aimed “to increase gas supplies from Algeria to Italy and Europe … due to the possibility of supply shortages from Russia.”
Di Maio’s delegation included Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy company Eni, which is a partner of Algerian state-owned company Sonatrach.
“Italy is committed to increase its gas supplies from various international partners,” Di Maio said after his meeting with Lamamra.
“Algeria has always been a reliable supplier and plays a fundamental role. The goal is to protect Italian businesses and families from this terrible war.”
Di Maio stressed the “relevance of the business partnership between Italy and Algeria,” and said bilateral trade last year had increased by 46 percent compared to 2020.
Italy imports nearly 95 percent of the gas it uses. Nearly 45 percent of that comes from Russia, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told Parliament on Friday.
Gas supplies could be increased from Algeria but also from Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Libya, he added. Algeria accounts for about 11 percent of Europe’s gas imports.
Sonatrach on Sunday said it is ready to increase gas supplies to Europe via the Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline that links Algeria to Italy.
“Sonatrach is a reliable gas supplier for the European market and is willing to support its long-term partners in the event of difficult situations,” CEO Toufik Hakkar told Algerian daily Liberte.