The case is of the utmost importance and was completed in record time. On Monday, April 11, the President of the Italian Council, Mario Draghi, traveled to Algiers to meet there with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and officially announce the agreement between the two countries to increase deliveries of natural gas to Italy.
In the coming months, the Transmed gas pipeline, which links the Algerian gas fields with western Sicily through Tunisia, should see its flow increased in order to operate at full capacity. The goal is to gradually increase gas deliveries from Algeria to 30 billion cubic meters (up from 21 today), an increase of 9 billion cubic meters, an increase that corresponds to about a third of current gas deliveries. Russian. In practice, an increase of 3,000 million from 2022 would be possible, with the rest expected in the course of 2023.
In these times of war in Ukraine, and while all of Europe tries to do everything possible to reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, the success of this operation carried out at the pace is not an easy task. Certainly, Rome will pay this additional contribution at a high price, but, while Europe continues to discuss the possibility of imposing an energy blockade on Russia, the agreement signed in Algiers is a considerable step forward. In the coming weeks, the President of the Italian Council plans to travel to Congo, Angola and Mozambique, to formalize agreements with more distant prospects. In the short term, it seems impossible to fully offset the 30 billion cubic meters a year that Russia delivers to Italy (40% of the country’s gas imports). Still, all opportunities to reduce the cost of possible sanctions in the energy sector are good to seize.
Italy, in fact, continues to affirm through the voice of its President of the Council that it is ready, if its partners so decide, to accept an embargo, whatever the cost. “Do we prefer peace or air conditioning this summer? This is the question, I think, that we must ask ourselves.” summarized on April 6 at a press conference, at the end of the Council of Ministers.
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, Draghi has been in favor of firmness, despite the reluctance expressed by several of the components of his majority. According to information from financial times, it was he who, from the first hours of the invasion, raised the idea of “freeze” foreign assets of the Russian central bank, depriving Moscow of more than $600 billion in resources and thereby inflicting unexpected damage. Without confirming this information, the presidency of the Italian Council leaves it to be said. In the same way, he defends, from the beginning of the confrontations, the idea of supplying defensive weapons to the Ukrainians. “Not giving weapons to those who are attacked would be proving the autocrats right,” assured on March 23 in the rostrum of the Chamber of Deputies, without hesitating to convene the memory of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in the hemicycle.
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