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MILAN: Italian energy group Eni, which buys Russian gas under long-term take-or-pay contracts, is closely monitoring international developments in the Ukraine crisis.

“Eni will fully honour every decision taken by the European and Italian institutions,” a spokesman said, when asked what the company would do with the contracts if sanctions on Russia’s energy sector tightened.

Eni, whose biggest shareholder is the Italian Treasury, bought 22.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas in 2020 out of a total of around 62 bcm.

Last week it said it would sell its stake in the Blue Stream pipeline carrying Russian gas to Turkey co-owned with Russian gas giant Gazprom.

European Union leaders are set to agree this week to try to phase out the EU’s dependency on imports of Russian energy sources, including gas which accounts for 45% of imports.

On Tuesday U.S. President Joe Biden announced a broad ban on oil and other energy imports from Russia which is the world’s biggest exporter of oil and natural gas.

Italy, which uses gas to generate some 40% of electricity, imports more than 90% of its gas needs, with Russian piped flows accounting for around 40%.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Italy has ramped up efforts to secure alternative gas sources in producer countries like Algeria, Qatar and Azerbaijan. Eni, which has extensive gas resources in Africa, has strategic long-term gas contracts with Algerian state energy giant Sonatrach.

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