ALGIERS, Algeria, April 20 (UPI) -- Renewable energy strategies could help Italian energy company Eni strengthen its portfolio in Algeria, the company's top executive said.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalz paid a visit to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Energy Minister, Salah Khebri to discuss legacy oil and gas operations in the country. Eni has a strong presence in Algeria, producing on average 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent in the country.
"Eni's CEO also expressed his hopes for the development of future collaborations in the renewable energies, in order to strengthen the partnership of over 10 years between the two countries and the two companies," the company said in a statement.
Algeria has the 10th-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments and the International Monetary Fund warned its economy may be at risk from lingering weakness in oil prices.
The government, however, has planned for oil shocks by reviewing spending and focusing more on non-hydrocarbon revenue streams. In November, Eni started laying the groundwork for the development of a renewable energy in the country alongside state-owned energy company Sontrach.
Terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida, stormed the country's In Amenas natural gas facility in January 2013, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants dead. Norwegian energy company Statoil said its In Salah gas facility was "hit by explosive munitions fired from a distance" in March. Its three employees in the area are safe and uninjured, the company said.