EU Countries seeking alternatives to Russian energy supplies

Oil and gas

This week, the leaders of Italy, France and the European Union signed agreements with their counterparts in Algeria, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates to purchase natural gas, due to fears of a cutoff in Russian supplies.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi visited Algeria’s capital of Algiers, where President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said a $4 billion deal would be signed this week to supply “a significant quantity of gas.”

“Algeria is a very important partner for Italy, in the energy sector, in the industry and business fields, in the fight against criminality, and in the search for peace and stability in the Mediterranean,” Draghi said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Also this week, France and the UAE signed an energy cooperation agreement, with the Gulf country supplying more oil and natural gas supplies.

After President Emmanuel Macron hosted Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Paris, no details on the agreement were released by the French economy minister.

Additionally, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Azerbaijan this week to complete a gas supply agreement with President Ilham Aliyev aimed at doubling gas imports from Azerbaijan within half a decade.

“This is good news for our supplies of gas this winter and beyond,” von der Leyen said.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Moscow’s restrictions of natural gas flows to a dozen EU countries, which caused soaring energy prices, inflation and the possibility of recession, Europe has been searching for alternative sources of energy.

In Algeria, several Italian ministers signed a series of memorandums of understanding, including in the energy sector.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said such agreements are “fundamental for the EU, as well as Italy, which has been reaching out to other energy-producing nations to secure alternate sources, including Azerbaijan, Qatar, Congo, Angola and Mozambique,” as quoted by the Associated Press.

According to Algerian energy giant Sonatrach, before the Ukraine war Russia provided Italy with some 29 billion cubic meters of gas annually, compared with about 23 billion from Algeria. This year, Algeria has delivered an additional 13.9 billion cubic meters to Italy via the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline, a 113 percent rise over forecasts.

Also this week, Algeria announced it will increase supplies by 4 billion cubic-feet in the coming months.