Sunday, January 29

Spain guarantees that the gas sent to Morocco will not come from Algeria

  • Rabat will be able to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) in international markets, regasify it in Spain and take it to Morocco through the gas pipeline

The Spanish government has guaranteed this Thursday that the gas it will send to Morocco will not come from Algeria. The day before, his government threatened to break its contract with Spain if this country diverted the Algerian gas “to a third destination”, Morocco, with which it has broken diplomatic relations.

After what Algeria will stop supplying gas to Morocco At the end of October through the Maghreb gas pipeline (GME), in the midst of a diplomatic crisis between the two countries over the thorny issue of Western Sahara, Spain decided to allow Morocco to obtain gas through the GME. Specifically, Rabat will be able to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) in international markets, regasify it in Spain and take it to Morocco through the gas pipeline.

“In no case the gas acquired by Morocco will have Algerian origin“, the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition said in a statement on Wednesday night. “The activation of this mechanism has been discussed with Algeria in recent months and has been communicated to the Algerian minister,” he added.

diplomatic tension

Although Spain’s dependence on Algerian gas is declining, still close to a quarter of the gas it imports came from this country in the first quarter of the year, compared to 40% in 2021, according to the Spanish gas network operator. The gas for Spain is sent by the Algerian giant Sonatrach, through the Medgaz submarine gas pipeline that directly links both countries.

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Main support of the Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front, Algeria showed its irritation after Spain decided in March to abandon its traditional neutrality and support the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, which allowed Madrid to close a diplomatic crisis of almost a year with Rabat.

In response, Algiers called its ambassador in Madrid for consultations, while Sonatrach does not rule out increasing the price of the gas it sends to Spain.

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On Saturday, the president of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebbounedescribed Madrid’s change of position as “morally and historically unacceptable”, although he guaranteed at the same time that his country will never “renounce its commitment to ensure the supply of gas to Spain”.

The conflict in the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, a vast desert area bordered by waters rich in fish and abundant mineral resources considered a “non-autonomous territory” by the UN, has for decades pitted Morocco against the Polisario Front.

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