Italy signs $8B gas deal with Libya

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Italy signed an $8 billion gas deal with Libya on Saturday as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited the North African country for talks on energy and migration.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, Italy and other European countries have sought to replace Russian gas with energy supplies from North Africa and other sources.

Saturday’s agreement was signed by Libya’s National Oil Corp. and Italy’s Eni. The two companies said they will invest $8 billion in gas development, as well as in solar power and carbon capture, Reuters reported.

The natural-gas deal between the two countries is the largest single investment in Libya’s energy sector in more than two decades, the Associated Press reported.

Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi has been a vocal backer of Europe turning to Africa to help address its energy supply needs.

Earlier this week, Meloni visited Algeria, Italy’s main gas supplier, where Eni and Algerian state-owned energy firm Sonatrach signed a new collaboration agreement aimed at shoring up energy security and boosting efforts to cut carbon emissions. Algeria last year became one of Italy’s top strategic partners after it replaced Russia as the European country’s largest energy provider.

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