Rising gas demand in the EU countries, which have been imposing sanctions on their main provider, Russia, on the back of the Ukraine war, has ... prompted Egypt on the other side of the Mediterranean to boost its LNG exports. Yet, its high domestic consumption and possibly insufficient infrastructure remain stumbling blocks.
Unveiled in April, the oil major Eni-Congo’s plan to increase its gas production is becoming clearer. Following a meeting with President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, Claudio Descalzi, chairman and CEO of the Italian company Eni, made important announcements on 2 August in Brazzaville.
“We took stock of the gas export project for which we had signed an agreement. It will start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and will eventually give the Congo the possibility of exporting nearly 4.5 billion tonnes of cubic metres of gas,” Descalzi told the press, adding that, within the framework of this “dynamic” cooperation, several dossiers in line with the 2022-2026 National Development Plan were emerging.
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“We discussed the agricultural project, especially oil production for the biorefineries. This project, which has already started, will be carried out in several stages. The aim is to produce around 31,000 tonnes of oil in 2023, 60,000 tonnes in 2024, and 150,000 tonnes in 2025. We have started training farmers and signing contracts with them,” Descalzi said.
Increasing the number of strategic alliances
As part of the signing of the agreement on the gas export project, Brazzaville and Eni Congo agreed in April on the definition of “decarbonisation initiatives to promote sustainable energy transition in Congo.” This will involve developing renewable energies and an agricultural sector (not competing with the food sector) dedicated to producing raw materials necessary for biorefining. This decision follows the signing, in October 2021, of a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the country’s biofuel sector, which sets the framework for the industrial production of castor oil to supply Eni’s biorefineries.
On 29 June, while presenting its results, Eni also reaffirmed its desire to increase the number of “strategic alliances” capable of guaranteeing Italy and Europe other sources of supply, amid a context of dependence on Russian gas. In fact, the initiatives are designed to provide, by 2025, the entire 20 billion cubic metres of gas that Russia delivers to Italy annually.
After signing new supply agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Congo-Brazzaville, the Italian major announced that opportunities could still arise in Libya, Angola, Mozambique and Indonesia.
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