Algeria Moroccan pipeline in the world press – Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune took decision ‘in light of the hostile behaviour’ of Morocco, as tensions between Algiers and Rabat continue to grow
ALGIERS, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune decided on Sunday to stop natural gas exports to Spain through Morocco, the official APS news agency reported.
The presidency announced in a statement that Tebboune ordered the state-owned energy company Sonatrach to stop commercial relationship with Morocco and not to renew the gas pipeline contract with Morocco, which ends at midnight of Oct. 31, 2021.
The statement stressed that the president made the decision due to Morocco’s « hostile » practices towards Algeria that affect national unity.
Algeria has used the Gaz-Maghreb-Europe (GME) pipeline through Morocco to transfer natural gas to Spain.
Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines Mohamed Arkab affirmed on Oct. 11 that his country will remain « the faithful and guaranteed » gas supplier to Europe.
He said the Medgaz gas pipeline, linking Algeria and Spain by sea, guarantees an annual supply of 8 billion cubic meters of gas, noting that the pipeline capacity is due to increase to 10.6 billion cubic meters by December.
Algeria, producing 1.2 million oil barrels per day and 130 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, is Africa’s biggest natural gas exporter. It has been using pipelines and tankers to provide natural gas to European countries.
Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco in August, citing what it described as the latter’s « hostile » policies.
Morocco later expressed regret over Algeria’s « completely unjustified » decision to sever diplomatic ties between the two countries
Algeria to halt gas exports to Spain via Morocco
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune took decision ‘in light of the hostile behaviour’ of Morocco, as tensions between Algiers and Rabat continue to grow
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Sunday ordered state energy firm Sonatrach to halt gas exports to Spain through a pipeline that traverses Morocco, due to tensions with Rabat.
Algeria, Africa’s biggest natural gas exporter, has been using the Gaz-Maghreb-Europe (GME) pipeline since 1996 to deliver several billion cubic metres (bcm) per year to Spain and Portugal.
But the GME contract is due to expire at midnight on Sunday, just over two months after Algiers severed diplomatic ties with Rabat over « hostile actions » – accusations Morocco has dismissed.
Tebboune « ordered the cessation of trade ties between Sonatrach and the Moroccan National Office for Electricity and Potable Water (ONEE), and the non-renewal of the contract, which expires at midnight Sunday », a statement from the presidency said.
The move would not have a significant impact, ONEE said in a statement on Sunday night.
« In anticipation of this decision, the necessary measures have been taken to ensure the continuity of the country’s electricity supply, » it said.
Tebboune took the decision after consultations with the prime minister and the ministers of energy and foreign affairs « in light of the hostile behaviour of the (Moroccan) kingdom which undermines national unity », it said.
Algerian and Spanish officials on Wednesday said Algiers would, from now on, deliver its natural gas to Spain exclusively through an undersea pipeline to avoid Morocco.
But experts have said the alternative undersea line, known as Medgaz, has a smaller capacity than the GME, amid growing concern in Spain of gas shortages and soaring energy prices across Europe.
Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera sought to sound reassuring during a meeting in Algiers earlier this week, speaking of « arrangements taken to continue to assure, in the best way, deliveries of gas through Medgaz according to a well-determined schedule ».
Months of tensions
Medgaz can carry eight bcm a year, with planned work to increase its capacity to reach 10.5 bcm.
Algeria has also proposed increasing deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by sea.
Maghreb geopolitics expert Geoff Porter told AFP that the shipping option did not make financial sense.
Algeria and Morocco have seen months of tensions, partly over Morocco’s normalisation of ties with Israel in exchange for Washington recognising Rabat’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
Rabat has rejected the accusations of hostile acts that Algeria has levelled at its neighbour.
Middle East Eye, 31/10/2021
Morocco says Algerian decision to end gas supply has ‘little impact’ – 2M TV
Nov 1 (Reuters) – Morocco said on Sunday that the Algerian decision not to renew a gas supply contract with Morocco has “little impact” on the national electricity system, Morocco state-run 2M television said, citing a statement by the National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water.
The office also added that necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the continuity of electricity supply and that other options are being studied for sustainable alternatives in the medium and long terms, 2M TV reported.