Italy and the Republic of Congo on Thursday signed an accord to increase the supply of gas from the African country to Italy. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio says it is urgent to cut its reliance on Russian gas.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani, accompanied by the CEO of energy giant Eni, Claudio Descalzi, met Congo Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francophonia and Congolese Abroad, Jean-Claude Gakosso.
The ministers then signed a declaration of intent with Congo’s minister for hydrocarbons, Bruno Jean Richard Itoua. The fuels minister then signed an energy accord with Descalzi.
Need to cut reliance on Russian gas
Di Maio said it was urgent to cut Italy’s dependence on Russian gas. Currently, Russia supplies around 40% of the Italy’s total gas supplies. “The partnership between Italy and Congo comes from a long way away,” he said after the deal was sealed.
“With today’s stage here a very important mission for the Italian government in this region has concluded,” Di Maio said referring to a similar accord with Angola reached Wednesday.
“Russian aggression has led Italy to diversify its sources. It is a top-priority objective for Italy to reduce our dependence on Russian gas. We are building new accords. We are aiming to mitigate energy costs for households and we have an energy security plan”.
Di Maio added that “both (Premier Mario) Draghi and Cingolani ever since the first day have been working on a cap on gas prices as a way of averting speculation: this must be a priority for the EU. It is Italy’s line: we have not spoken of vetoes and we expect support for this proposal”.
ENI working alongside government
Eni said the accord with Congo foresees “the acceleration and increase of gas production in Congo, firstly via the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project projected to start in 2023 and a capacity once on line of more than three million tonnes a year (over 4.5 billion cubic metres/year)”.
Italy’s energy giant said exports of LNG “will enable us to valorise the production of gas in excess of Congolese domestic demand”.
Earlier this month, Italy signed a deal with Algeria to increase their gas supply.