Meloni Tours Africa to Enhance European Energy Security

During October 2023, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni was on a flash Africa tour. She only visited Mozambique and Republic of Congo on this trip, although more countries were initially planned. During the visit, she promoted the Italy-Africa Summit and focused on the #EnergySecurity of the EU.

ENI is the Italian state-owned energy company and has several projects in Africa. Over the last decade, large natural gas reserves have been discovered off the northern coast of the Delgado Province of Mozambique. However, security issues, the COVID pandemic and other unfavorable market conditions have hampered the development of this natural resource.

Area 4 in Rovuma Basin off Northern Coast of Mozambique

The natural gas is mostly located in the Rovuma Basin in north-east Mozambique and there is an estimated 2.8 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of natural gas. Thus, Mozambique has the 3rd largest reserves of natural gas in Africa, behind Nigeria (5.8 tcm) and Algeria (4.5 tcm). ENI secured rights for Area 4 and the Coral Field within Area 4 holds an estimated 500 billion cubic meters of reserves. ENI has commissioned a Floating Liquid Natural Gas (FLNG) ship which started production in November 2022.

“The Italian companies that operate here make their best technological and production capabilities available to the local entrepreneurial fabric.”

ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi

ENI is the majority shareholder with 60% of the shares in the Project with China’s CNPC, Portuguese Galp Energia and South Korean KoGas and Mozambican ENH each having a 10% stake.

With the Ukraine-Russia Conflict lingering on, the EU has become painfully aware of its over-reliance on cheap Russian gas. Therefore, Italy is working to ensure the #EnergySecurity of the EU by accelerating the development of its natural gas assets in Africa.

“Europe has an energy supply problem while Africa is potentially a huge producer of energy. If we put the two things together we can build a different future of cooperation between our continents about energy but … also about raw materials.”

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni
Coral-Sul Floating Liquid Natural Gas (FLNG) Plant

In light of the success of the first LNG plant, a second floating LNG plant is now in the pipeline, so to speak. The new facility is expected to come online by June 2024.

In the Republic of Congo, Meloni underscored the long-standing ties with Congo by recalling that Italian explorer Pietro Savorgnan founded the Capital Brazzaville at the end of the 19th Century.

In Congo-Brazzaville, ENI is active off Pointe-Noire and in the onshore area of Koilou. ENI plans to build two FLNG plants in Congo. The natural gas will primarily go towards the electrification of Congo with the excess exported to EU.

Meloni and N’Guesso

Italy has earmarked 70% of its Climate Fund, representing some EUR 3 billion, to fight #ClimateChange in Africa. Natural gas is a cleaner fuel than oil when it comes to greenhouse emissions.

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni also personally extended invitations to the African leaders to attend the Italy-Africa Summit. The Summit was initially scheduled for October 2023 but has now been postponed until the start of 2024 when Italy will assume the G7 rotating presidency.