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Eni sees East Med as key to diversifying Europe's gas imports

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Gas projects in east Mediterranean countries such as Egypt, Cyprus and Israel will be key to help Europe diversify its gas imports as output in the North Sea is dropping and Russian supplies are rising, the head of Italy's Eni said on Monday.

Claudio Descalzi said Egypt could play the most crucial role in gas exports thanks to existing infrastructure and could become a hub shipping as much as 20 billion cubic meters of gas annually in a few years.

He also said Eni wanted to expand in Algeria, including offshore fields, while field development terms needed to improve in Iran for the company to be lured back. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Julia Payne; Editing by Louise Heavens)