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Europe is looking for alternatives to Russian gas in Africa

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Nonhlanhla P Dube
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Europe is looking to Africa for energy as countries seek to reduce their reliance on Russian imports in the midst of the Ukraine conflict.

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Italy, the third-largest European Union (EU) economy, has pushed ahead with deals, with energy behemoth Eni signing a deal last Wednesday with Egypt’s state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company to promote gas exports to Europe.

Earlier that week, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi visited Algeria, where Eni signed an agreement to buy more natural gas from Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach through 2024, according to a press release from the Italian company. This equates to 12% of Italy’s gas consumption in 2021.

Algeria already supplies gas to Europe through three pipelines, one of which runs through Italy. Two other pipelines connect to Spain.

Italy’s deals followed a meeting between European ambassadors and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company last Monday, which sought to “strengthen partnership” in the energy sector, according to a tweet from the company.

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Draghi is scheduled to visit central and southern Africa this week, with potential deals in the Republic of Congo and Angola. These potential deals, combined with the additional natural-gas volumes Italy has already secured from Algeria, are said to be able to replace more than half of the supply it receives from Russia as early as 2023.

The European Union is a major consumer of Russian energy. Earlier this month, the EU approved a ban on Russian coal. It’s also considering an oil embargo but hasn’t mentioned shutting down natural gas because Europe is still heavily reliant on piped gas from the country.

Draghi, on the other hand, told Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Sunday that Europe can wean itself off Russian energy imports through diversification in a time frame “shorter than what we imagined just a month ago.”

“We no longer want to rely on Russian gas because economic dependence should not lead to political subjugation,” he told the outlet. “To do so, we must diversify our energy sources and seek out new suppliers.”

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Nonhlanhla P Dube

Nonhlanhla P Dube is a senior news reporter at Rateweb. Nonhlanhla is a student of International Relations at the University of South Africa. She reports primarily on personal finance and economics. You can contact her directly by email at nonhlanhla@rateweb.co.za

Published by
Nonhlanhla P Dube