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US looks to Algeria as alternative energy source

A gas plant in Algiers, Algeria on 16 January 21018 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]
A gas plant in Algiers, Algeria on 16 January 2018 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images]

The US has asked to meet with Eni, TotalEnergies and other energy companies operating in Algeria to see if more gas can be sourced from the country, Reuters quoted informed sources as saying.

The move comes as Washington intensifies efforts to find alternative gas supplies for Europe in case any disruption arises from the standoff between Russia and Ukraine.

The European Union depends on Russia for more than a third of its gas, and any interruption of flows would worsen an energy crisis that has already sent consumer bills sky high.

"The US has requested a meeting with Eni on Algeria," one of the sources told Reuters.

Eni, which has a series of long-term gas contracts with Algerian gas monopolist Sonatrach, is one of the country's biggest foreign producers.

A second source said Washington had reached out to France's TotalEnergies and other companies in the region, including Equinor and Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Eni was not immediately available for comment while TotalEnergies and Occidental declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said it has been "working to identify additional volumes of non-Russian natural gas from the Near East and North Africa to Asia and the United States" but did not confirm any talks with individual companies.

READ: Can Qatar save Europe from a cold winter in the event of a Russia-Ukraine war?

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