The European Commission is hoping that a draft agreement on energy co-operation between the EU and Algeria will help the EU to strengthen energy security.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso signed the draft agreement during an official visit to Algeria in early July. He said that the deal would establish a framework for Algeria and the EU to work together on gas and oil.

The EU is keen to diversify its energy supplies, particularly natural gas, and has made energy a priority area for the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

"In this context, Algeria is a key partner for the EU, both at the bilateral and regional levels," said Barroso. "Natural gas is a strategic issue for both parties: Algeria is a major supplier to Europe, while Europe is by far the largest customer of Algeria."