Eni signs Egyptian gas deal to unlock LNG supplies for Europe this year

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen at a gas station in Rome

CAIRO/MILAN (Reuters) -Eni has signed a deal to boost gas production in Egypt and boost liquefied natural gas supplies to Europe, the Italian energy group said on Wednesday.

The move comes as Italy and Europe step up efforts to find alternative gas imports to cut their reliance on Russian gas as the war in Ukraine escalates.

On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi clinched a deal to ramp up gas imports from Algeria to help replace some of the 29 billion cubic metres Italy receives from Russia.

Eni, which in 2015 discovered the super giant Zohr gas field in Egypt, said it had agreed with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to boost gas production and step up exploration at existing and new fields.

Eni said the agreement could result in shipping up to 3 billion cubic meters of LNG to Europe this year.

Eni, whose biggest shareholder is the state, holds a stake in Egypt's Damietta LNG plant which has a capacity of more than 7.5 billion cubic meters per year.

(Reporting by Momen Said Atallah and Stephen Jewkes; Writing by Ahmad Elhamy; Editing by Jan Harvey and Lisa Shumaker)