The trans-Mediterranean nattral gas pipeline that links Algeria and Italy has spare capacity that can be used to increase supply to Europe, the CEO of the Algerian state-energy group Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, said on Sunday.

Hakkar, cited by state-run news agency APS, was commenting on Western European fears of gas supply disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sonatrach will remain a "reliable supplier" of natural gas to Europe and is ready to support its partners in the continent in case of a "difficult situation", he said, according to APS.

Algeria sends gas to Europe through pipelines across the Mediterranean to Italy and Spain, and on liquefied natural gas tanker vessels. (Reporting by Yasmin Hussein Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Alison Williams)