Algiers, Aug 26 (EFE).- Algeria will continue to supply Spain with natural gas despite this week’s diplomatic rupture with Morocco, but not via the Maghreb-Europe pipeline that runs through Moroccan territory, Energy Minister Mohamad Arkab said Thursday.
In a meeting two days after Algeria severed ties with Morocco, Arkab told Spanish Ambassador Fernando Moran that Algiers is not interested in extending the contract for shipment of gas through the Maghreb-Europe conduit.
Built in the 1980s at the initiative of Spain’s Enagas and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach, the Maghreb-Europe pipeline can carry up to 8 billion cubic meters of gas annually, the same capacity as the Medgaz conduit that runs directly from Algeria to Spain.
The governments of Morocco, Spain and Algeria have spent months negotiating the renewal of the Maghreb-Europe contract, set to expire Oct. 31.
“Algeria maintains its total commitment to cover the entire supply of natural gas to Spain via Medgaz,” Arkab said, hailing the “excellent bilateral energy relationship.”
The minister also pointed to his government’s substantial investment in “expanding the capacity of the Medgaz pipeline that links Algeria with Spain directly.”
Medgaz is owned by Sonatrach and Spanish energy company Naturgy.
Last month, the partners signed an accord to boost the pipeline’s annual carrying capacity to 10 billion cubic meters at a cost of 73 million euros ($90 million).
The deal envisions that 25 percent of natural gas used in Spain will travel through the Medgaz pipeline.
Algeria is in a position to meet the ever increasing demand for natural gas in Europe, particularly the Spanish market, “thanks to the flexibility that the country has in regard to liquefaction capabilities,” Arkab said. EFE