Algeria has fulfilled its threat not to renew a contract to supply gas to Morocco via the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, citing the “aggressive nature” of Rabat’s government towards Algiers.
The move means Algerian gas supplies to Spain will now be transported through the MedGaz pipeline across the Mediterranean Sea instead of via Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar which is the route of the Maghreb-Europe line.
The office of Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said: “Considering the aggressive nature of the Kingdom of Morocco towards Algeria, which touches on national unity, and after the consultation of the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Energy & Minerals, the president orders Sonatrach to end the commercial relationship with the Moroccan company [ONEE], and not renew the contract.”
Sonatrach is Algeria’s state oil and gas company while ONEE is Morocco’s Office for Electricity & Energy.
There had been concerns in Spain about Algeria’s move at a time when gas prices in Europe have spiked, but state-owned gas utility Enagas said on 31 October that Spain has enough gas to last for 40 days.
“There are no objective indications of a lack of gas supply in the coming months.”
Algeria has built a new domestic pipeline to link the Maghreb-Europe with the MedGaz line whose capacity is set to be boosted to 10.5 billion cubic metres per year in December, up from 8 Bcm annually currently.
Algiers is also promising increased deliveries of liquefied natural gas to Spain from its Skikda plant to make up for any shortfall.