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HomeQatar TimesItaly to boost energy ties with Qatar after Ukraine invasion

Italy to boost energy ties with Qatar after Ukraine invasion


Italy looks to boost energy ties with Qatar as the Russian-Ukraine war threatens its supply. 

Italy is looking at Qatar as a potential replacement for gas supplies after Ukrainian crisis puts Russian exports on the line.

Qatar, the world’s biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG), welcomed Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Saturday for plans to boost energy ties between both countries, a move the European country desperately needs as tensions persist in the region.

The official was accompanied by the head of the Italian energy group Eni, Claudio Descalzi.

In a further move to bolster relations, the country’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi discussed potential energy plans with the nation’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on a recent call, Draghi’s office said in a statement.

The latest discussions came in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which triggered Western sanctions that might impose a threat to commodity flows. The escalations cause a wide fear of gas shortages, blackouts, and further price increases.

Qatar and Italy calling for diplomatic solution between Russia and Ukraine

For Italy, its gas supply is one the line. The country relies heavily on gas to generate 40% of its electricity, with imports accounting for more than 90% of its needs. In 2020, Russia exported 40% of those imports.

Now, the government wants to cut its reliance with Qatar as a potential replacement.

On Saturday, Italy’s Energy Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said that his country aims to ‘rapidly cut’ more than half of its Russian gas import and to be independent of Russian supplies within two or three years.

“We are working to increase our gas supplies in the short, medium and long term, to avoid any kind of blackmail and to have alternatives to Russian gas,” Di Maio said in a statement on Saturday.

“We must act quickly to stem the potential economic effects of this war that is being waged by the Russian government and protect Italian families and businesses.”

Both countries enjoy strong trade-ties that exponentially grew in recent years. In the first month of 2021, Qatar and Italy’s trade exchanges grew by 56%.

The visit also comes ahead of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Qatar and Italy’s establishment of diplomatic ties. Next year, the Gulf nation set to hold next year’s Qatari-Italian strategic dialogue.

Read also: Qatar-Italy trade sees 38% rise in first half of 2021

However, the country seems to have all its options open. Before landing in Doha, the officials also visited Algeria on Monday to discuss potential gas supplies

“We must act quickly to stem the potential economic effects of this war that is being waged by the Russian government and protect Italian families and businesses.”

“Algeria will support Italy in supplying gas, our partnership will become stronger both in the short term and the medium and long term,” Di Maio said.


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