Algeria, which boasts Africa’s second biggest gas reserves, said it would stop gas deliveries to Spain if Madrid transferred it to a “third destination.” The warning follows a recent decision by Spain to provide gas to the North African nation’s neighbor and regional rival, Morocco.
“Natural gas delivered to Spain, whose destination is none other than that provided for in the contracts, will be considered as a breach of contractual commitments,”The Algerian Energy Ministry stated Wednesday.
Madrid made such a decision “could result in the termination of the contract between Sonatrach and its Spanish customers,”They added it.
Sonatrach is Algeria’s state-owned gas company, which supplied more than 40 percent of Madrid’s natural gas imports in 2021.
The threat contradicts last week’s statement by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who assured “the Spanish people that Algeria will never abandon its commitment to supply Spain with gas under any circumstances.”
In March, Algiers recalled its ambassador from Madrid after Spain backed Morocco, Madrid’s former colony, in its dispute with Algeria over Western Sahara.
Morocco views Western Sahara in its territory. It plans to make it autonomous. Algeria, on the other hand, supports the Polisario Front movement. This group is pushing for autonomy for an area that is home to more than 50 million people.
Algiers and Rabat ended diplomatic relations last year due to the dispute between their neighbors. The Algiers refused to extend a contract to transport gas from Spain through a pipeline which ran through Morocco and supplied Rabat with the majority of its natural gas. Spanish customers will now receive Algerian energy only through an underwater pipeline.
Madrid made a promise to Rabat in February that it would assist them in this situation. “guarantee its energy security.”And earlier in the week, Spain’s energy ministry announced plans to send gas to Morocco.
It assured Rabat that the gas it received would not be from Algeria. “Morocco will be able to purchase LNG on the international markets, unload it at a regasification plant on the Spanish mainland and use the Maghreb gas pipeline to bring it to its territory,”This was explained by the ministry.
Algeria is one of Africa’s biggest gas exporters, with its supplies becoming increasingly important for Europe amid the Ukrainian conflict and Russia’s demand for payments for its gas to be made in rubles, in response to sanctions and the freezing of its assets, which some EU nations have been reluctant to fulfill.
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