Spain raises the US, Nigeria and Egypt to supply gas

LNG tanker in the port of Bilbao. / CR

The arrival of methane tankers already represents 75% of imports, compared to the stagnation of Algeria, whose contribution is reduced by a third after the war in Ukraine

Jose Maria Waiter

The geostrategic changes are consummated to keep the gas supply in Spain stable after almost three months of war in Ukraine. Spain has completely changed the origin of its suppliers, after the tension registered in Russia -the main exporter to Europe- and after the conflict with Algeria, from where the Iberian Peninsula received a large part of this raw material. With the April data in hand, the United States consolidates itself as the leading gas supplier in Spain. And other territories whose contribution was almost residual until two months ago, such as Nigeria, Egypt or Qatar, among others, are increasing their exports.

Specifically, gas from the United States represented 30.7% of all imports of this product in April, which arrives via methane tankers at one of the six regasification plants in Spain. On average, so far this year, the US economy is providing a third of the gas that Spain consumes. Until a year ago, he barely injected 20%.

Behind are imports from Algeria, through the Mezgas gas pipeline, which connects that country with Almería. It represents 23.4% of the total in April, an amount lower than what this strategic partner usually represented in terms of energy. Up to 40% of the gas that Spain needed came from Algiers last year. But the closure of the gas pipeline that connects that territory with Cádiz through Morocco, closed since November 2021, has reduced imports from this supplier by a third.

Little by little, as the weeks go by, the new energy partners consolidate their gas positions. Thus, almost 17% of the gas that Spain needed came from Nigeria in April, when the average for the last year barely exceeded 10%; from Egypt, 6%, compared to 1% on average; and from Qatar, 4.4%, practically double that of 12 months ago. For its part, Russia continues to contribute 8%, practically the same percentage as before the invasion began.

At the same time, exports from the Peninsula to Europe, through the gas pipelines of the Basque Country and Navarra that connect with France, continue to grow, despite its minimal capacity with respect to all the gas that Spain can receive via methane tankers or gas pipeline the Argelia. The invasion of Ukraine has changed the direction of gas circulation and the two gas pipelines are operating at full capacity at this time. Spain exported 5,618 gigawatt hours (GWh) to France in April, and only received 464. It is the first time in history that a negative balance of this dimension has occurred.

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