Home News Draghi, the crisis and the lightning trip to Algeria: the North African country becomes the first gas supplier for Italy

Draghi, the crisis and the lightning trip to Algeria: the North African country becomes the first gas supplier for Italy

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Draghi, the crisis and the lightning trip to Algeria: the North African country becomes the first gas supplier for Italy

In a feverish political climate, Mario Draghi flies to Algeria today for a lightning mission. It is considered a very important visit, especially in light of the recent energy-type agreements that aim to guarantee our country gas supplies for the coming winter, and given the fact that even before the Ukrainian invasion, the North African country Algeria it overtook Russia and became our number one gas supplier, peaking around 30 billion cubic meters per year. It goes without saying that at this stage, with Moscow having begun to turn off the taps, the link between Italy and Algeria takes on an even more strategic value.
But there is not only gas: the two countries aim to strengthen cooperation in other sectors as well. And with this in mind, the fourth Intergovernmental Summit to be held today in Algiers has already been set for some time and in which Prime Minister Mario Draghi will participate two days before his speech in the Chambers, after the resignation announced last Thursday. The latest agreement signed with Algeria dates back just a few days ago, when the energy company Sonatrach decided to increase the volume of its gas supplies to Italy by another 4 billion cubic meters starting next week. The major supplies will be delivered to Eni and partner companies. This agreement follows the agreement signed last spring, according to which supplies have been increased by 3 billion cubic meters immediately and by another 6 billion from 2023, to reach a total of 9 billion between gas and LNG.
Relations with Algeria
Still in the energy field, other agreements specifically related to renewables and green hydrogen have also been signed recently. According to the data of the Ice Agency, Italy mainly exports machinery, refined petroleum products, chemicals and iron and steel while gas constitutes almost all of our imports from Algeria through the TMPC (TRANSMED) gas pipeline, which crosses the Sicily channel from Capo Bon (Tunisia) up to Mazara del Vallo, and guarantees flows, for 21.2 bcm, with a maximum capacity found in past years up to 27 bcm). In 2021 the value of Italy-Algeria trade was equal to 7.34 billion euros, of which 5.58 billion (+77.6 per cent) our imports and 1.76 billion our exports (-9 , 1 percent). Bilateral relations between Italy and Algeria are historically excellent and are going through a particularly positive phase, as evidenced by the political visits at the highest level that have taken place in recent months (state visit by President Sergio Mattarella to Algeria in November 2021, visit to Algiers by Prime Minister Mario Draghi last April and, immediately after, a state visit by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to Italy).
There are about 200 Italian companies with a stable presence: the most important is Eni, present in the country since 1981. Another agreement recently signed between the Italian company and Sonatrach concerns the acceleration of the development of gas fields in Algeria and decarbonisation through green hydrogen. And it will allow groups to assess the gas potential and accelerated development opportunities of some fields already discovered by Sonatrach. In particular, Eni is very active in exploration and production, in particular in the Bir Rebaa desert, in the central eastern area of ​​the country, in various exploration and development blocks and is also committed to relaunching exploration and development activities in the Berkine basin region – just last March the assignment of a new PSC was ratified – also through the construction of a gas and oil development hub in synergy with the existing installations of MLE-CAFC.

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