Italy to Sign Gas Turbines Contract with Azerbaijan

(Reuters) — Italy is set to sign a new contract to sell four gas turbines to Azerbaijan, its industry minister said on Saturday ahead of his visit to the Asian country that is one of Rome's most important energy partners.

The deal will involve Italy's Ansaldo Energia, a service provider for the power generation industry, and Azerenerji, the country's largest electrical power producer, minister Adolfo Urso said in a statement. He gave no financial details.

The news comes after Italy last month signed a $8 billion gas production deal with Libya aimed at boosting energy supplies to Europe.

Italy is working to double to 20 billion cubic meters the capacity of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which brings Azeri gas to Apulia in the southeast of the country.

"I hope that the mission will serve to consolidate a strategic relationship between our two countries," said Urso, who is due to meet Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and other ministers on Sunday.

Rome sees a role for itself as a hub for gas supplies to northern Europe in the coming years to help offset the loss of imports from Russia.

"Thanks to its geographical position between the Caspian Sea and the countries of Central Asia, which are rich in energy and raw materials, Azerbaijan can increasingly become the bridge to our country, Europe and the Mediterranean, thus confirming Italy's role as Europe's energy hub," Urso said.

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