As the world’s fastest growing economy, some of the formerly dormant and even recently discovered economic opportunities on the continent continue to lure in new partnerships, and a partnership with the South-Central European nation of Italy could be on the horizon.
Although Italy already has dealings in Africa, the CEO of energy group Eni Claudio Descalzi noted that Africa could significantly boost its gas supply to Italy.
He disclosed to the Italian media that Africa’s gas imports could flood Italy, if the continent develops its oil infrastructure. He made this statement from the capital city of Algeria, where he paid a visit alongside the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni.
The CEO of the energy group noted that Rome already had a number of instrumental energy partnerships in Africa including the TransMed pipeline linking Algeria to Sicily, a pipeline coming from Libya and imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Egypt, Angola, Congo Republic and Mozambique.
“We are the only ones to have a connection with Algeria… which has a capacity of about 36 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas and is still under-utilized. There are still more than 10 bcm that can reach Italy,” Descalzi disclosed to the press.
“We have a connection with Libya that is now worth about 12-14 billion cubic meters in terms of capacity, which can go up with adequate compression additions of several billion,” he added.
This potential market play is very heavily driven by the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war, which has depleted Russia’s supply of liquified natural gas to European nations. Last year, Algeria became Italy’s largest gas supplier, filling in a significant gap of 29 bcm created by the aforementioned conflict.
“Our goal is to have an oversupply of gas in order to be able to bring energy to Northern Europe,” Descalzi said.
As recently as 2021, Russia supplied approximately 38% of the 75 bcm of gas used by Italy. However, Italy now has plans to completely replace Russian gas by the end of 2024.