Algerian gas flows to Spain decline

12 July 2022
Drop in supply comes amid diplomatic spat

Algerian gas exports to Spain were down by 15 per cent in June compared with May, according to figures recorded by Enagas, the energy company and European transmission system operator that owns and operates Spain’s gas grid.

The figures recorded by Enagas show that deliveries from Algeria dropped to 7,763 gigawatt-hours from 9,094 gigawatt-hours in May.

The 7,763 gigawatt-hours that were supplied in June made up 22 per cent of Spain’s total demand and is about half the amount that was supplied by Algeria to Spain in June 2021.

The decline in gas exports from Algeria to Spain comes amid an ongoing diplomatic spat between the two countries.

As Algerian supplies declined, Russia replaced Algeria as Spain’s second-largest natural gas supplier in June.

Imports from Russia reached 8,752 gigawatt-hours, more than doubling from May and corresponding to 24 per cent of Spain’s total demand.

The US remains the biggest supplier, with a 30 per cent share.

Algeria has been angered by Spain’s public recognition of Morocco’s plan to grant Western Sahara autonomy rather than full independence.

Relations have also been put under pressure after Spain intervened in February to assist Morocco when Algeria stopped supplying gas through a pipeline that passed through the neighbouring North African country.

In November last year, Algeria stopped gas exports through the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME), which transports gas to Spain via Morocco, by not renewing a 25-year deal relating to the use of the pipeline.

Gas exports

Algeria, Africa’s biggest gas exporter, had used the GME since 1996 to export some 10 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Spain and onwards to Portugal.

In return, Morocco had received around 1 billion cubic metres of gas a year as transit fees, covering about 97 per cent of its needs. By stopping its use of the GME pipeline and channelling its exports to Spain via other routes, Algeria ramped up pressure on Morocco, which is reliant on energy imports.

However, in February, Spain stepped in to assist Morocco, agreeing to reverse the direction of a portion of the GME pipeline and allow Rabat to use it to import gas that came in through Spain's liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

This article has been unlocked to allow non-subscribers to sample MEED’s content. MEED provides exclusive news, data and analysis on the Middle East every day. For access to MEED’s business intelligence, subscribe here

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.