The International Energy Agency (IEA) has established a ten-point plan to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas. Presented to the European Union, the plan is consistent with the European Green Deal – an initiative to position the EU as the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
Of these measures, the IEA has emphasized the need for diversification and utilizing alternative supply chains. Specifically, four dominant countries were considered as alternative gas providers. Notably, the US, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Algeria can help reduce the reliance on Russian gas while ensuring a stable supply that meets consumer demand. The IEA notes that Europe could secure an additional 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) in additional supply through this option.
Kadri Simson, the Commissioner for Energy at the European Commission, stated, “The IEA’s 10-Point Plan provides practical steps to cut Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports by over a third within a year while supporting the shift to clean energy in a secure and affordable way. Europe needs to rapidly reduce the dominant role of Russia in its energy markets and ramp up the alternatives as quickly as possible.”
However, massive investments will need to be made to develop the infrastructure that would enable the four countries to increase exports to Europe. In 2021, Algeria increased its gas exports to Europe from 40 bcm to approximately 53 bcm, owing to strong demand as European countries sought to address soaring energy prices. However, factors such as conflicts with Morocco in north Africa over the use of the Maghreb- Europe – the pipeline which Algeria has traditionally used to export gas to Spain – continue to present challenges, threatening the viability of heightened supply in 2022.
However, the country is focused on emerging as the preferred supplier to Europe. Through new exploration and production deals signed with majors including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Eni and Austria’s OMV, Algeria will not only expand the country’s capacity, but enhance its export capabilities – if coupled with increased investment for infrastructure development. Additionally, by utilizing new pipeline infrastructure such as the 2,475 km Transmed Pipeline, Algeria could be the best solution for Europe.