Europe should look to Africa for a “south-north” energy axis that would deliver gas from Africa to the EU, which is scrambling to replace Russian pipeline supply, Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive of Italian energy giant Eni, told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday.
“We don’t have energy, they have energy. We have a big industry, they have to develop it . . . There is a strong complementarity,” Descalzi said, referring to Africa and its energy resources.
Italy’s Eni is a major player in many African countries and has signed several agreements to boost gas supply from Africa to Europe since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the slump in Russia’s gas deliveries via pipeline.
In April 2022, less than two months after Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine, Descalzi and the president of Algeria’s state energy firm Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, signed an agreement that will allow Eni to increase the quantities of gas imported through the TransMed/Enrico Mattei pipeline as part of a long-term gas supply contract in place with Sonatrach.
“This agreement will allow to exploit the pipeline’s available transportation capacities to ensure greater supply flexibility, gradually providing increasing volumes of gas from 2022, up to 9 billion cubic meters per year in 2023-24,” Eni said at the time.
In October, Eni announced the start of production from two gas fields within the new Berkine South contract in Algeria, with volumes intended for the European market. And the following month, Eni announced the first shipment of LNG produced from the Coral gas field in the ultra-deep waters of the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique.
“The first shipment of LNG from Coral South project, and from Mozambique, is a new and significant step forward in Eni’s strategy to leverage gas as a source that can contribute in a significant way to Europe’s energy security, also through the increasing diversification of supplies, while also supporting a just and sustainable transition,” Descalzi said in November.
Eni reported in October third-quarter core earnings and net profit beating analyst expectations amid what the Italian group described as an “excellent performance” of its Global Gas & LNG Portfolio.