Italy is intending to sign an agreement to increase import of gas from Algeria in an effort to cut down its reliance on the Russian energy supplies in the wake of Moscow’s military incursion on Ukraine.

Currently, Italy’s gas imports from Russia touch around 40%.

Italy plans to buy a further nine million cubic metres (mcm) of gas from Algeria, which is the second-biggest supplier of natural gas for Italy, reported Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter. Since 1983, Algeria has been exporting gas to Italy through the Transmed pipeline.

This pipeline, although has a daily capacity of over 110mcm, supplies less than 60mcm currently to the Italian shores.

The North African country’s exports have been capped as a result of increasing domestic consumption, political volatility, under-investment in the energy sector, closure of a pipeline to Spain following a dispute with Morocco.

Last week, Italian Energy Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said that the country was in discussions with seven countries to buy more gas in an effort to diversify its energy sourcing.

The recent weeks have seen Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio Di Maio and Italian firm Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi visited Algeria to talk on ways to boost energy relationship between the two countries.

In 2021, Italy imports grew 76% to 21.2 billion cubic metres (bcm), which is 29% of total flows.

The source noted: “Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi will sign the institutional agreement between the countries and then Eni and Sonatrach will complete the technical aspects.”

The source also added that the deal is expected to feature investments in renewable projects.

Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas entity Sonatrach and Eni have also been in talks to boost gas supply in to Italy in the short and medium terms.