ALGIERS, Algeria, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said its representatives met with Algerian officials to discuss an energy mix that includes plans for a renewable energy industry.
Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive officer at Eni, joined executives from state-owned energy company Sontrach, Algerian Energy Minister Salah Khebri and Prime Minister Abdelmallek Sellel to outline future strategies in the country.
"Among other things, they discussed on the energy mix issue and Eni offered its willingness to consider projects in partnership for the development of renewable energy," the Italian 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.
The country's energy minister told U.S. officials last year Algeria was evaluating the potential for shale oil and gas, something the government said was "absolutely vital" for energy security.
The Italian energy company has worked in Algeria since the early 1980s. It has a daily production capacity of around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent and is the second-largest producer behind Sonatrach. The Italian economy relies in part on Algeria for energy imports.
The European Union spends an average $1 billion per day on energy imports. More than 60 percent of the region's gas supplies come from foreign suppliers, notably Russia, Norway and Algeria respectively.
The European Council on Foreign Relations last year said the EU has a shortsighted stance on Algeria, which should be viewed as an "unreliable partner."
Terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida stormed the country's In Amenas natural gas facility in January 2013, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants dead.