Algeria threatens to cut off the supply to Spain after the reopening of the gas pipeline with Morocco

Spain has decided to reopen the Maghreb gas pipeline, which connects Algeria with the Iberian Peninsula through Morocco, to export gas to the latter country and provide "support to guarantee its energy security", as confirmed by the Spanish Government on Wednesday, after threatening Algeria with cutting the gas supply to Spain. The Spanish Executive emphasizes that “in no case will the gas acquired by Morocco come from Algeria”.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines has warned this Wednesday in a statement that any diversion of the gas exported to Spain "whose destination is none other than that provided for in the contract" will mean non-compliance with it, according to a statement collected by the official Algerian agency TAS.

The Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, points out in the statement that he was informed this Wednesday "by electronic message, by his Spanish counterpart, Teresa Ribera, of Spain's decision to authorize the exploitation, in reverse flow, of the Maghreb Gas Pipeline Europe (GME”).

The Maghreb Europe, which supplied Algerian gas to Spain and Portugal through Moroccan territory, was closed last October when the 25-year contract expired, in full escalation of tension between Algeria and Morocco. Algeria says that the "operation (requested by Spain for the use of the GME) will be carried out today or tomorrow."

“The amounts of Algerian natural gas delivered to Spain, whose destination is none other than that provided for in the contracts, will be considered a breach of the contractual commitments, and therefore, could lead to the breach of the contract that binds Sonatrach with its Spanish clients”, warned the Algerian Government.

"Given the information coming from Algeria", the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition has confirmed that "Morocco has requested support to guarantee its energy security on the basis of commercial relations and Spain has responded positively to its request, as it should do with any another partner or neighbor”.

“With total transparency, Morocco will be able to acquire LNG on international markets, unload it at a peninsular regasification plant and use the Maghreb gas pipeline to reach its territory. In no case will the gas acquired by Morocco come from Algeria. The activation of this mechanism has been discussed with Algeria in recent months and today it has been communicated to the Algerian minister”.

Until 2021, Algeria has been the main supplier of gas to Spain, a fundamental source of energy at a time when the crisis over the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led the European Union (EU) to consider suspending its purchases of Russian gas. This Wednesday, Moscow has cut the supply to Poland and Bulgaria. The relationship between Algeria and Spain has become tense after Pedro Sánchez's change of position on the Sahara and in 2022 the United States has surpassed Algeria as the first gas supplier to Spain.

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