The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, will travel today to Algeria with the aim of guaranteeing gas supplies to Spain, following the diplomatic rift between Algiers and Rabat and the Algerian threat to cut the gas pipeline that crosses Morocco.
Albares will travel to Algiers accompanied by the presidents of Naturgy, Franscisco Reynés, and Enagás, Antonio Llardén, and will be received by the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, with whom, among other issues, he will discuss the energy relationship between the two countries, according to Ministry sources. The two ministers held a first meeting last week in New York, coinciding with the UN General Assembly.
Albares’ trip comes after Algeria threatened to cut, on October 31, the gas pipeline that crosses Morocco and supplies Spain, in the midst of the serious tension between the two Maghreb neighbors, which on August 24 announced the rupture of diplomatic relations.
Algeria is the main supplier of natural gas to Spain, mainly through the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline that crosses Moroccan territory. Therefore, the measure would not only entail serious losses for Morocco (specifically, the annual royalty of 7% of the gas passing through its country), but would also reduce supplies to Spain and contribute to higher prices. Algeria assured last summer that the supply will be made through the Medgaz pipeline, which links the country with Spain.
In any case, Albares will travel to Algeria rather than Morocco. The Spanish minister and his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, held on September 20 their first conversation since the outbreak, five months ago, of the serious diplomatic crisis between the two countries as a result of the alleged irregular entry into Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali. In that telephone conversation, the two ministers agreed to hold “a meeting in person in the near future”.