Italy can significantly increase its gas imports from Africa and shift some of the supply to northern Europe if it strengthens its infrastructure in the coming years, said the CEO of energy group Eni Claudio Descalzi.
Speaking from Algiers, where he travelled with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Descalzi said that Rome could already count on many links with Africa, including the TransMed pipeline linking Algeria to Sicily.
"We are the only ones with a connection to Algeria... which has a capacity of about 36 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas and which is still underused. There are still more than 10 bcm that can reach Italy."Claudio Descalzi
Algeria became Italy's largest supplier of gas last year, replacing a significant portion of the 29 bcm of gas that previously came from Russia.
In addition to TransMed, Rome could also count on a gas pipeline from Libya and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Egypt, Angola, the Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
"We have a connection with Libya that is now worth about 12 to 14 billion cubic metres in terms of capacity, which can increase with adequate compression additions of several billion," said Descalzi.
Italy is also working on the option of doubling the capacity of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which transports Azeri gas to Puglia in the south-east of the country, to 20 Gm3 .
Rome sees a role as a hub for supplies between Africa and northern Europe in the coming years to help offset the loss of imports from Russia.
"Our goal is to have an oversupply of gas in order to be able to bring energy to Northern Europe," said Eni's CEO, adding that Italy needed both to expand its domestic gas network and to develop energy corridors to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In 2021, Italy used about 75 bcm of gas, 38% of which came from Russia. It plans to completely replace Russian gas by the end of 2024.
Eni and Algeria's Sonatrach signed two agreements on Monday to reduce carbon emissions and study joint projects to improve the North African country's energy export capacity.