Europe inks energy deals, sidesteps Russia

European leaders ramped up their push to secure alternative energy supplies as fears escalate of a complete natural gas cutoff by Russia, with the leaders of Italy, France and the European Union sealing deals with their counterparts in Algeria, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates.

With his government's fate in limbo back home, Italian Premier Mario Draghi visited Algeria's capital of Algiers on Monday, seeking to cement the North African country's role as a pre-eminent regional partner.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said a $US4 billion ($A5.9 billion) deal would be signed on Tuesday to supply "a significant quantity of gas."

"Algeria is a very important partner for Italy, in the energy sector, in the industry and business fields, in the fight against criminality, and in the search for peace and stability in the Mediterranean," Draghi said.

Also on Monday, France and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement on energy cooperation to ensure oil and natural gas supplies from the Gulf country.

The French economy ministry didn't release details on the deal as President Emmanuel Macron hosted Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Paris.

The same day, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Azerbaijan to clinch a deal with President Ilham Aliyev on increased gas supplies from the former Soviet republic.

With the tentative agreement, the EU wants to double the gas imports from Azerbaijan within half a decade. The bloc said the agreement also has guarantees for green energy supplies.

"This is good news for our supplies of gas this winter and beyond," von der Leyen said.

Europe has been scrambling to secure alternative energy sources as Russia's war in Ukraine and Moscow's drawdown or cut-off of natural gas flows to a dozen EU countries have triggered soaring energy prices, inflation and growing expectations of a recession.

The 27-nation EU now is bracing for the possibility of a complete Russian cut-off of natural gas that powers industry, generates electricity and heats homes in winter.

Leaders have been pushing to fill underground gas storage to try to avert a worsening energy crisis when the cold months arrive.

Meanwhile, there are fears a major pipeline between Russia and Germany that closed for scheduled maintenance last week will not turn back on in retaliation for sanctions over the war.

The German government said on Monday that a turbine at the centre of uncertainty about future gas deliveries through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe was only supposed to be installed in September, underlining its insistence that there should be no technical obstacle to the gas flow.

Meanwhile, Germany's biggest importer of Russian gas said it had received a letter from Russia's Gazprom claiming "force majeure" -- events beyond its control -- as the reason for past and current shortfalls in gas deliveries, a claim that the importer rejected.

Analysts say the impact of the move on future gas deliveries is uncertain.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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