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Sonatrach Source: “Morocco’s Purchase Of Algerian Gas Via Spain Is Not Possible”

September 13, 2021

A senior source at the national hydrocarbon Company “Sonatrach” ruled out Morocco’s purchase of Algerian gas through Spain for several reasons and complications, some of them technical and others financial, at a time when natural gas prices in Europe reached record levels, exceeding $15 per million British thermal units.

A senior source in Sonatrach told “Echorouk” that the talk of Spanish experts a few days ago about the possibility of Morocco buying Algerian gas through Spain, by reversing the movement of gas in the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, is far from reality and very unlikely, given that the movement of gas was from South (Algeria) to the North (Morocco and Spain) by special propulsion engines (Turbo-compressors).

Sonatrach’s high-ranking source clarifies that reversing the movement of gas from the north (Spain) to the south (Morocco), requires investments from Spain or Morocco, to supply the pipeline with turbo-compressors, which transport gas from Spain to Morocco through the Maghreb pipeline.

According to the same source, this investment requires money and a lot of time, which means that its readiness will not be before next spring if investment is made in it when the Maghreb-Europe contract expires on October 31 at best, while the Kingdom of Morocco needs gas so as to produce electricity at the level of two power stations.

In the same context, the Algerian expert in energy affairs at the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Noureddine Ghelil, said in a statement to “Echorouk” that Morocco even if it reached an agreement with Spain to buy Algerian gas by reversing the movement of the Maghreb Europe pipeline, this matter will require investments, money and a lot of time.

Noureddine Ghelil added that Spain, if it decided to sell Algerian natural gas to Morocco, it would be at a very high cost, explaining that the price of one million British thermal units (MMBTU), reached $ 15 in the European market at the end of last week, after the price last year was in the range of $4 only, therefore, he argued, Morocco will not be able to buy gas except at a price higher than what is applied in Spain, because Spain will sell it at interest.

The Stockholm Stock Exchange expert presented other factors related to Morocco’s lack of liquefied natural gas storage facilities if it decided to purchase this vital substance from the international market, and that liquefied gas requires converting natural gas into liquid, then filling it into tankers, then transporting it, then storing it, then the following process is to return it to its gaseous state, and these operations are very costly from a financial point of view.

Energy experts in Spain, including the director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Royal Spanish Institute “Elcano”, Gonzalo Escripano, had talked a few days ago about the possibility of Morocco buying Algerian gas from the Spanish market through the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, by reversing the movement of gas, but the prices will be the same as what is applied in Spain or more.