Algeria gives up natural gas supply to Spain via Morocco

Algeria plans to disable the pipeline through Morocco, with which it has recently severed diplomatic relations, and expand its own pipeline directly to Europe for natural gas exports.

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On Thursday, the Algerian Ministry of Energy announced its country’s full commitment to covering all of Spain’s gas supplies through a direct pipeline linking the two countries, which signifies the abandoning of a pipeline that passes through Morocco.

The statement by the Ministry of Energy comes following a meeting between Minister Mohamed Arkab and Madrid’s Ambassador to Algeria, Fernando Moran Sotelo.

The statement indicated that Arkab affirmed his country’s full commitment to covering all natural gas supplies through Medgaz, which connects the two countries directly.

He pointed out that Arkab stressed Algeria’s capabilities to meet the increasing demand for gas in the European markets during the meeting, especially the Spanish market, thanks to the flexibility in terms of the ability to liquefy gas.

The declaration means that Algeria will give up supplying Spain and Portugal with gas through the pipeline passing through Moroccan territory.

Until now, Algeria supplied Spain with gas through two gas pipelines, the first being the Arab Maghreb – Europe pipeline, reaching the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Morocco was benefiting from this pipeline in the form of financial revenues as transit rights, in addition to annual quantities of natural gas.

As for the second line, Medgaz passes directly from the coastal town of Beni Saf in western Algeria to Almeria in southern Spain, with a transport capacity of 8 billion cubic meters annually.

Last May, the Algerian oil company Sonatrach announced that it would raise the capacities of the “Medgaz” pipeline to transport gas to Spain to more than 10 billion cubic meters annually, through an investment that cost $280 million.

In the summer of 2018, Sonatrach renewed the contract to supply gas to Spain for a period of 10 years, with quantities amounting to 9 billion cubic meters annually.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra announced on August 24 that his country had decided to cut diplomatic relations with Morocco because of “hostile acts.” In a written response made by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that the reasons for the unilateral decision of Algeria were not accepted.

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