On July 18, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi visited Algeria in an effort to expedite gas delivery to Italy in the midst of the ongoing energy crisis. The leaders of both the nations declared that there will be an increase in gas supplies in the upcoming years. Draghi's visit to President Abdelmajid Tebboune was anticipated by the news that four more billion cubic metres of Algerian gas would be sent to Rome amid a political turmoil in that country.
"The fourth summit between Italy and Algeria confirmed our privileged partnership in the energy sector. This step represents an acceleration compared to what initially negotiated and anticipates further supplies in the upcoming years," the Italian PM told reporters.
Algeria has replaced Russia as Italy's primary energy partner as it tries to lessen its dependency on that country. Italy imported 22.5 billion cubic metres of gas from Algeria in 2021, or about 29.6% of total domestic consumption. Further, Russia contributed 28.9 billion cubic metres, accounting for 38% of total consumption.
In addition to the three billion cubic metres of gas originally announced in April, Sonatrach, the state-owned company in Algeria, will now provide an extra four before the winter. By 2024, supplies should increase by almost nine billion cubic metres annually and pass through the Transmed pipeline.
The development of renewable resources, particularly green hydrogen and solar, wind, and geothermal energy, will also be a focus of cooperation between Italy and Algeria, according to the leaders of both the nation. With the Libyan crisis and the challenges in the region as a starting point, they will continue to collaborate "toward stability in the Mediterranean," Draghi stated.
Europen nations are bracing for a full-fledged gas crisis later this week, as a historic heatwave drives up demand for energy to help cool the continent's homes and businesses. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline (a vital artery connecting Russia's gas to the union) is set to resume on July 21 after a 10-day repair period.
However, there is growing concern that Russia will continue to turn off the taps in revenge for sanctions imposed by the European Union following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February. The pipeline transports 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe each year, accounting for almost 40% of the continent's total pipeline imports from Russia.
However, a complete break with Moscow's gas is not out of the question. The Russian government, on the other hand, has already reduced its gas exports to numerous European countries. Germany, the region's largest economy, declared a "gas crisis" last month after Gazprom, Russia's national gas provider, cut pipeline exports by 60%. Gazprom blamed the move on the West's decision to withhold crucial turbines due to sanctions.