There has been talk that Morocco will not renew its contract covering the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline (MEG) that transports Algerian gas via Morocco to Spain. Media reports from Algeria show speculation on the potential cessation of the contract, which expires in 2021, after Morocco’s Energy Minister, Aziz Rebah, showed little enthusiasm for the future of the MEG.

“Morocco is developing two highly strategic projects, the Jorf Lasfar (LNG installation) and the Nigerian-Moroccan gas pipeline,” Rebbah recently said in a statement to L’Economiste daily, showing that Morocco is resolutely engaged in stepping back from Algerian gas.

While Morocco is trying to ensure its energy security, the country and Algeria have a long history of quiet tensions and this could be seen as a retaliation by Morocco against Algeria’s ongoing bid to undermine Morocco’s economic interests by keeping its borders closed. It could also be seen as a retaliation against Algeria for its support of the people of Western Sahara.

Morocco launched a gas strategy to boost its energy security. The Moroccan LNG National Development Plan, approved in late 2014, features an LNG onshore terminal in Jorf Lasfar near El Jadida to be completed for a total cost of $4 billion. The terminal will have a storage capacity of 5 billion cubic meters of LNG per year, a fitted marine jetty, regasification plants and new high-pressure gas transmission pipes.

Recently, Sound Energy made a breakthrough with several exploitable gas discoveries in Eastern Morocco. Sound could begin producing these resources by 2019.

In addition to the above, albeit a little more farfetched, is the planned gas pipeline between Morocco and Nigeria. The Moroccan-Nigerian gas pipeline, to stretch over 4,000 km, will all but quash the pipeline planned between Nigeria and Algeria; the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline and set Morocco free from dependence on Algerian gas.

The agreements signed between Morocco and Nigeria to build an offshore gas pipeline would see an extension of the existing West Africa Gas Pipeline.

Source: Petroluem Africa


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