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Italy consolidates gas deal with Congo as it boycotts Russian imports

Italian energy company ENI has signed a deal with the Republic of Congo   -  
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Antonio Calanni/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Republic of the Congo

Italy is another step ahead in its venture to increase its export of natural gas as the country signed a new

deal with the Republic of Congo on Thursday.

The Italian delegation paid a visit to Angola and now Congo Republic this week to line up LNG contracts.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced the deal alongside Congolese foreign minister Jean Claude Gakosso in Brazzaville on Thursday, saying that the Russian attack on Ukraine has obliged Italy to diversify its sources of energy.

Italy like most countries in Europe is trying to cut its reliance on Russian natural gas imports quickly, with leaders recognizing that their payments help fund Moscow's war, but Umberto Triulzi, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Rome, Sapienza, believes Italy doesn't has the proper arragement for such a swift change.

"The countries with which we have made agreements in the last years like Algeria, Libya, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Angola, Congo, Mozambique, all these countries, we have asked them to increase their export to Italy and we have to do this in a different way. For some of them we have pipelines, like Algeria, like Libya, and Azerbaijan, but for others we don't have it. So we need to build oil pipelines, and gas pipelines, and also the regasificator (regassification plant), as we said, but we don't produce it, we have to buy it from countries who do produce it, like Korea. So it is a lot of investment that we need to do and this is something that requires again time, resources, which we don't have so much now because of the crisis, but you cannot do anything else, this is something that is a must."

The new deal with Congo calls for a new Liquefied Natural Gas project that is expected to launch next year with a capacity of up to 4.5 billion cubic meters a year.

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