Italian oil and gas company Eni has agreed to increase gas production and exports from the Republic of Congo by more than 4.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year.

The deal is part of the Italian firm’s plan to reduce dependence on Russian gas in the wake of Moscow’s military action against Ukraine.

Eni said that the agreement will allow it to increase gas production, primarily through the development of an LNG project, which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.

In a press statement, the Italian firm said: “LNG exports will allow [the company] to valorize the production of gas that exceeds Congo’s internal market needs.”

Eni has agreed to define initiatives with the Republic of Congo to promote the country’s decarbonisation and sustainable energy transition, with a focus on renewable energy, and the capture, use, and storage of CO₂.

Eni currently supplies gas to the Congo Power Plant (CEC), which accounts for 70% of the electricity produced in the country.

Earlier this month, Eni signed a deal with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to increase the gas production and supply to Europe.

The framework agreement aims to promote gas export from Egypt to Europe, and specifically to Italy, to help transition to a low-carbon economy.

The deal comes as European nations search for alternative gas supplies to cut their dependence on Russian gas, following the invasion of Ukraine.

Eni said that the two firms will focus on increasing jointly operated gas activities while assessing ways to maximise gas production.