The Third Vice President and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said this Wednesday, after meeting in Algiers with the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines of Algeria, Mohamed Arkab, that he has received a “total guarantee” from that country regarding the supply of gas, before the closure, next Sunday, of the Algeria-Spain gas pipeline that runs through Morocco, within the framework of the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two North African neighbors.
“The total guarantee with respect to the volumes agreed today has been made explicit,” said Ribera, who added that the way to satisfy a possible greater demand from Spain has been addressed.
“The minister has explained to us how to undertake this gas transportation through the Medgaz gas pipeline, given that the contractual relationship with the Maghreb gas pipeline expires on October 31, and how to supplement it with liquefied natural gas”, the cost of which is higher than of the gas pipeline, and “according to a schedule that we have to specify in the best possible way to ensure that everything also works in the most fluid and best possible way,” said the vice president.
Ribera has assured that the visit was scheduled “a long time ago” but that until now it had not been possible to materialize due to the pandemic and has greatly appreciated “the commitment and the safety samples, the explanations they have given us regarding the guarantees to make natural gas transportation is viable and honor the purchase commitments that the different Spanish and Algerian companies have signed for a long time. ”
For his part, the Algerian minister has indicated that “we can satisfy all the additional demands. It is enough that we agree on the timing.”
During the meeting, other areas of energy were also discussed, including an underwater electrical interconnection between the two countries: “We have discussed many other issues, such as new forms of renewable energy, storage or hydrogen, and, where appropriate, the construction of an electrical cable that allows the interconnection between the two continents, increasing the capacity that exists today “and that” may materialize in the coming years, “explained Ribera.
Finally, and according to Ecological Transition, the possibility has been raised of continuing and deepening the conditions and commitments of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 in relation to cooperation in energy matters between the two countries, with industrial, energy, labor and formative.
Ribera’s visit to Algiers comes after talks held in recent weeks with the Algerian authorities by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who has spent weeks ensuring that the supply of gas from that country, Spain’s main supplier, ” it’s guaranteed”. On Monday, Albares recalled that “there are other ways of transporting gas”, alluding to the methane tankers that convert it into liquefied natural gas (LNG), albeit at a higher cost, in a very complex energy context on a European scale.
Albares already traveled to Algiers at the end of September with representatives of Enagás and Naturgy and met again last Thursday with his Algerian counterpart, who told him that the North African country “has guaranteed the demand, as it cannot be otherwise when there is a strategic energy partnership “.
Algeria broke diplomatic relations with Morocco with its North African neighbor last August and the concession for the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME) expires on Sunday, October 31. The infrastructure was inaugurated on November 1, 1996 and links Algeria with Spain from the HassiR’Mel deposit through the Strait of Gibraltar. Its route includes 539 kilometers that pass through Moroccan territory. This country receives every year between 50 and 200 million euros in tolls and about 800 million cubic meters per year of Algerian gas.
It is one of the two gas pipelines that link both countries and has a capacity of 13,500 million cubic meters, which represents 25% of consumption in Spain. The other is the Medgaz, which has the capacity to transport 8,000 million cubic meters, which in January plans to expand to 10,000 million and in which Naturgy participates, with 49%, in which the Algerian state-owned Sonatrach is a shareholder. with 4.1%.