Algeria threatens to cut gas to Spain amid Morocco tensions

Algeria threatens to cut gas to Spain amid Morocco tensions

 

 

Algeria threatened on Wednesday to stop supplying gas to Spain if Madrid transfers it to other countries, amid tensions with neighboring Morocco.

 

Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Mohamed Arkab said his Spanish counterpart had informed him that Madrid was to “authorize the operation, in reverse flow” of the GME pipeline; which links Algeria to Spain via Morocco, and that this would start “today or tomorrow,” an energy ministry statement said.

 

Algiers warned that any routing of “Algerian natural gas to Spain; whose destination is none other than that provided for in the contracts, will be considered as a breach of contractual commitments.”

 

Doing so “could result in the termination of the contract between [Algeria’s state-owned energy giant] Sonatrach and its Spanish customers,” it added.

 

Spain is dependent on Algeria, Africa’s largest gas exporter, for gas supplies; most of which it receives through the 750-kilometer Medgaz deepwater pipeline.

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It previously also received gas through the GME (Gaz Maghreb Europe) pipeline, but Algeria shut supply in November; due to a diplomatic rupture with Rabat, depriving Morocco of Algerian gas.

 

Ties between the old rivals have worsened over the past two years amid a dispute over the Moroccan-held territory of Western Sahara, and last year Algeria broke off diplomatic ties with its neighbor.

 

Algeria supports the Polisario Front movement that is seeking independence for Western Sahara; while Morocco sees the territory as its own.

 

In February, Spain said it would help Rabat “guarantee its energy security”; by allowing it to transport gas through the GME.

 

On Wednesday, Spain’s energy ministry confirmed it planned to ship gas to Morocco; but also stressed that none of that gas would be of Algerian origin, Reuters reported.

 

In 2021, Sonatrach supplied more than 40 percent of Madrid’s natural gas imports.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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