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Italy to buy more gas from Angola, Congo Republic - foreign minister

ROME, March 13 (Reuters) - Italy is to buy more gas from Angola and Congo Republic, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday, as Rome steps up efforts to secure new energy supplies and become less dependent on Russia in light of the Ukraine crisis.

Di Maio travelled to Congo Republic and Angola with the head of Italian energy group Eni, Claudio Descalzi, over the weekend. The trip follows a visit by the two men to Algeria and Qatar last week.

“Algeria, Qatar, Congo and Angola, have given their availability to increase the quantities of gas,” Di Maio told state-owned television RAI in an interview.

“In two months we will be able to halve Italy’s dependence on Russian gas and in winter we will be able to do even better. We will no longer be dependent on Russia”, Di Maio said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered sweeping Western sanctions that threaten to disrupt energy flows, raising the spectre of gas shortages.

Italy is particularly exposed as imports account for more than 90% of its gas needs and last year Russian gas made up around 40% of those imports. (Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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