Friday, July 1, 2022

Gas: tortuous manoeuvering for gas transports between Spain, Morocco and Algeria

 The tensions between Morocco and Algeria on the issue of Western Sahara make gas shipments to a very tricky question. In reason of Spain's support for the moroccon position, Algeria has stopped every gas supply to Spain through the Maghred-Europe Gas Pipeline (MEG) and interdicted all shipments to Morocco from Spain of algerian gas, source Le Monde:

Spain began, for the very first time, to transport gas to Morocco through the Maghred-Europe Gas Pipeline (MEG), assuring that it was not Algerian gas, while Algeria does not supply plus the GME to Spain since the end of October 2021 against the backdrop of the diplomatic crisis.

“On the basis of commercial relations and good neighborliness, yesterday [Tuesday] the first shipment by the Maghreb gas pipeline of LNG [liquefied natural gas] previously acquired by Morocco on international markets and landed in a regasification plant took place. Spain,” sources from the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition told AFP.

Spain had announced in February that it would re-export gas to Morocco via the GME, which Algeria no longer supplies to Spain through Moroccan territory since the end of October 2021 due to a diplomatic crisis around of Western Sahara. “A certification process guarantees that this gas [routed from Spain to Morocco] is not of Algerian origin,” the same source told AFP.

Algiers had threatened in April to break its gas supply contract with Spain if Madrid were to transport Algerian gas "to a third destination", an implicit reference to Morocco.

Enagás, manager of the Spanish gas network, has the task of "verifying the origin of the LNG tanker transporting the gas" purchased by Morocco and, after unloading it, issues a certificate with "the relevant data, thus avoiding either exported gas which has not been unloaded for this purpose”, specified the sources of the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

But the fact for Spain to transport gas through this gas pipeline is anything but trivial in the context of the very complicated relations with Algeria and Morocco. The reaction of Algiers will therefore be watched with attention in Madrid.

The Algerian government has been very upset with Spain since the executive of socialist Pedro Sánchez decided in March to support the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in order to put an end to almost a year of diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat.

In response to this about-face, Algiers had recalled its ambassador to Spain and Sonatrach, the Algerian hydrocarbon giant, had not ruled out raising the price of gas delivered to Spain.

Algerian authorities also suspended a cooperation treaty with Spain in early June, while a key banking body in Algeria announced restrictions on business transactions with Madrid.

Spain's dependence on Algerian gas has been significantly reduced since the shutdown of the GME, but almost a quarter of the gas imported by Spain still came from Algeria in the first quarter, compared to more than 40% in 2021, according to the manager of the Spanish gas network. This gas is delivered to Spain by the Algerian hydrocarbon giant Sonatrach through the undersea gas pipeline Medgaz which directly connects the two countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment