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Post Is Ukraine War a Chance for Algeria to Shine in the Energy Sector?
Created by John Eipper on 03/29/22 12:03 PM

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Is Ukraine War a Chance for Algeria to Shine in the Energy Sector? (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 03/29/22 12:03 pm)

Spain seems to have handed Western Sahara over to Morocco, despite Spanish government claims to the contrary. Nevertheless, such a move would be in the interest of all parties: Spain, Morocco, Algeria and the European Union.

Spain would gain a stake in the future, while Morocco removes the last obstacle to its plans in the former Spanish colony, while Algeria, a key player in the geopolitics of our southern neighborhood and Morocco's eternal enemy, obtains an opportunity for peace and enrichment.

The next point is an agreement between the two enemies to resume relations and reopen the main gas pipeline in the Maghreb, which transports Algerian gas to the Iberian Peninsula via Morocco.

One of the events that upset the delicate balance between Morocco and Spain was when the African country closed the pipeline, which had been supplying natural gas to Spain and Portugal for 25 years, and which crosses Moroccan territory. Since then, Algeria has been linked to Europe by the Transmed pipeline that connects with Italy. This channel has a capacity of about 32 million cubic meters per year, and through Medgaz to Spain.

In this way, Spain solves a very serious rupture with Morocco, which places it in an advantageous position to become the main hub for the supply of Algerian natural gas to Europe.

The fact that Algeria is, by far, our first gas supplier, and that Spain is, in turn, the second customer of Algerian gas, only behind Italy, with which it is linked by another gas pipeline, represents a great opportunity.

Precisely in these times of so much instability in Europe, with an illegal, unjust and unjustified war such as the one taking place in Ukraine, this strategic relationship and this gas pipeline linking Spain and Algeria can give even more value to the strategic partnership between the two countries. Precisely because the key lies in the fact that almost 90% of Algeria's GDP, two-thirds of its tax revenues and 97% of its exports depend on the energy sector. In other words, gas and oil. For this Maghreb country it is the lifeblood of the economy and the key to its socio-political stability.

Now, both Spain and Algeria are interested in increasing the country's hydrocarbon production and exports. This includes investment in the energy infrastructure associated with the North-South Western Gas Corridor linking Algeria to Europe via Spain.

Algeria's national gas company, Sonatrach, announced earlier this year that it would invest $40 billion between 2022 and 2026 in gas exploration, production and refining.

And in the meantime, the current international crisis may be the opportunity Algeria needs to shine in the global energy sector.

JE comments:  Wars cause untold suffering, but also opportunities.  Algeria stands to benefit from Europe's energy insecurity vis-a-vis Russia. They are probably not hoping for a peace agreement anytime soon.

Consoly, what do we know about the Western Saharan people and their desires for sovereignty?  The easternmost 20% of the territory is under the control of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, the successors to the Polisario revolutionary movement. I'd love to know more.

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