Europe’s leaders ramp up efforts to secure energy deals to sidestep 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 looking to seal deals with their counterparts in Algeria, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates.

ith his government’s fate in limbo back home, Italian premier Mario Draghi visited Algeria’s capital of Algiers, seeking to cement the North African country’s role as a preeminent regional partner.

Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune said a four billion US dollars (£3 billion) deal would be signed on Tuesday to supply “a significant quantity of gas”.


European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was in Azerbaijan to clinch a deal on increased gas supplies from the former Soviet republic (Boris Grdanoski/AP)

“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,” Mr Draghi said.

Also on Monday, 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 Monday’s tentative deal, the EU wants to double the gas imports from Azerbaijan through the Southern Gas Corridor within half-a-decade. The bloc said the agreement also had guarantees for green energy supplies.

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

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


French president Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomed the UAE president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Paris on Monday (Michel Euler/AP)

The 27-nation EU is now bracing for the possibility of a complete Russian cutoff 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.

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.

As the EU and Italy aimed for gas deals, French president Emmanuel Macron hosted the leader of the United Arab Emirates in Paris to ensure energy supplies from the oil-rich Gulf country.

Mr Macron and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan were “working on the signing of a bilateral agreement on hydrocarbons and on guarantees for the supply of hydrocarbons” to France, according to a French presidency official.

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