Unlikely Alliances Emerge in Global Energy Game

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The once-overlooked energy hubs, from offshore Congo to Azerbaijan, are currently experiencing a boom as Europe scrambles to find new sources of natural gas, effectively replacing the Russian supplies that once powered the continent. This critical shift is rapidly redrawing the world’s energy map, with Europe preparing to boost imports from Africa, redirecting the flow of natural gas globally. This surge in activity comes as global exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) hit a record high, significantly fueled by a sharp increase in U.S. shipments to Europe.

In the heart of the Sahara in Bir Rebaa, Algeria, the Italian energy company Eni, in partnership with Algeria’s state-owned energy company, is making strides in tapping into previously unexplored gas fields. The duo is drilling dozens of wells and producing gas within months, an impressive feat that underscores Europe’s desperate search for alternative energy sources. This newfound European thirst for Algerian natural gas is challenging Algeria’s long-standing alliance with Russia, marking a significant shift in geopolitical relations. As the European gas market diversifies, the repercussions are being felt far beyond the continent, reshaping alliances and global energy dynamics.

Europe Turns to Alternative Energy Sources Amid Russian Supply Drop

Once considered the backwaters of the energy world, offshore regions from Congo to Azerbaijan are now booming as Europe seeks new sources of natural gas to replace Russian supplies. This shift is rapidly reshaping the global energy landscape.

Transforming Energy Map

In Bir Rebaa, deep in the Sahara desert, Italian energy company Eni and Algeria’s state-owned energy company are drilling numerous wells to tap into previously unexplored fields. Algeria, which has long had a strong alliance with Russia, is seeing its relationship tested as Europe’s demand for Algerian natural gas surges. As Algeria’s energy minister, Mohamed Arkab, puts it, "We have friendship and political ties, but business is business."

New Deals and Investments

Algerian officials are negotiating new gas deals with buyers in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Eni is making major investments in Algerian production, while the Algerian government is in discussions with U.S. giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil on potential deals that would allow the firms to produce gas in Algeria for the first time. Meanwhile, a consortium led by London-based BP is ramping up gas production in Azerbaijan, ahead of schedule on a pledge to double gas deliveries to Europe by 2027.

Changing Flow of Natural Gas

The surge in activity is altering the flow of natural gas globally. Previously, gas primarily flowed southwest from Russia towards the Mediterranean. Now, Europe is preparing to increase imports from Africa, with gas flowing northwards through Italy to Austria and other countries. Global exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have hit a record high, powered by a sharp rise in U.S. shipments to Europe.

Addressing Energy Crunch

Europe is hoping that these new gas flows will provide a buffer during the next three years, a period expected to witness the worst of the supply crunch. The aim is for the new supplies to bring down prices following the severing of the Nord Stream pipelines, the main conduit for Russian gas, due to sabotage in September 2022.


The shift in Europe’s source of natural gas is a clear example of how geopolitical events can rapidly transform the business landscape. The increased activity in previously obscure corners of the energy world is not only changing the flow of natural gas but also redrawing the world’s energy map. However, Europe’s growing reliance on alternative suppliers like Algeria and Azerbaijan could expose it to new vulnerabilities. As such, the best strategy appears to be diversifying suppliers to mitigate the risk of geopolitical manipulation.

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