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Congo sends its first shipment of liquefied natural gas to Italy

Congo sends its first shipment of liquefied natural gas to Italy
Eni's chief executive Claudio Descalzi before Eni's investor meeting in Milan, Italy, March 15, 2017   -  
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Antonio Calanni/AP

Republic of the Congo

The African nation of Congo became the latest exporter of liquefied natural gas on Tuesday by starting production of the first cargo, a year after Italian energy company ENI launched the Congo LNG project with local partners.

The first cargo ship loaded with LNG will head to the Italian regasification plant in the Tuscan town of Piombino in the coming days, ENI said in a statement.

“With the first cargo, the Republic of Congo enters the group of LNG exporting countries, opening opportunities for economic growth while contributing to the global energy balance,” ENI said.

ENI and its partners shared labour, knowledge and technology, "ensuring additional revenue for the country while contributing to Europe's energy security," CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.

The project will have an annual capacity of 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which is used to heat homes and businesses. It is formed when the gas is cooled to around -162 C to be stored and shipped safely on board specially designed ships.

Europe has been searching for new sources of energy since it decided to cut off supplies to Russia following its massive invasion of Ukraine two years ago. Russian gas sales abroad have fallen 40% since the invasion, according to the think tank ISPI.

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