Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has spoken about the importance of Azerbaijan in providing Italy with natural gas, Azernews reports.
He recalled that Italy signed new deals to increase gas supplies from different countries, including Algeria and Azerbaijan.
Noting that last year, 40 percent of Italy’s imports were from Russia, the prime minister stated that this share has been halved this year.
“We are accelerating the development of renewable energy sources. The demand for renewable energy in the first eight months of this year is almost 4 times higher than the sum of the indicators of 2020 and 2021,” he said.
Draghi mentioned that Italy will completely eliminate its dependence on Russian natural gas by the fall of 2024, stressing that this is the main goal for national security. In this regard, he added that for this purpose, it is important to complete new gas supply projects in Italy in due time.
“Italy’s natural gas storage capacity is currently at 80 percent and the goal is to increase that to 90 percent in October,” he said.
The prime minister also said that protecting the volume of gas supplies cannot prevent rising costs, which have reached unsustainable levels.
The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on May 8, 1992. Italy’s first embassy in the South Caucasus was opened in Azerbaijan in 1997 and the embassy of Azerbaijan in Italy has been functioning since 2003.
Italy was one of the first countries to express support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, as well as an interest in participating in the restoration efforts of Azerbaijan’s liberated territories. Last year, Azerenergy and Ansaldo Energia signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of energy infrastructure in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories. According to the agreement, Ansaldo Energia will supply equipment for four 110 kV substations to be built in Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Gubadli districts.
Azerbaijan is a major supplier of energy to Italy. In Azerbaijan, over 100 Italian companies, operating in various sectors, are registered. At the same time, Italian firms have contracts worth more than €10 billion ($11.8 billion) for Azerbaijani projects both inside and outside the country. Azerbaijan’s total investment in the Italian economy is estimated to be around €1.7 billion ($2 billion), with Italy investing approximately €770 million ($910.8 million) in Azerbaijan.