Algeria intends to increase its natural gas exports to Italy by 50 per cent as part of a new deal expected to be signed today, Bloomberg reported.
According to the agency, the agreement is "non-public" and stipulates that "Algeria will increase its exports to Italy by 9 to 10 billion cubic meters per year by the end of 2022."
Italy received about 21 billion cubic meters of gas from Algeria in 2021, compared to about 29 billion cubic meters from Russia.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is visiting Algiers today, where he is scheduled to meet President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and sign the deal, the news site said.
The agreement includes "increasing the Italian imports of Algerian gas, and joint investments in renewable energy sources."
Bloomberg said: "Italy, which relies on Russian imports for about 40% its gas consumption, is seeking alternative supplies as European Union leaders consider taking a harsher stance against alleged Russian atrocities in the Ukraine war."
Algeria supplies Europe with natural gas through three pipelines that cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and Spain, starting from the huge Hassi R'Mel fields south of the country. The gas pipeline linking Algeria to Italy is considered the oldest, it was inaugurated in 1984, and it crosses Tunisia and the Mediterranean Sea to reach the island of Sicily. This is called the Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline.