March 22, 2023

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First gas supply in reverse flow to Morocco via GME: at what suppliers and at what price?

Although Moroccan and Spanish officials agree that the reverse flow of gas to GM via the Magreb-Europe Gas Pipeline (GME) will be nothing more than Algeria, there is suspense over the cost and profile of the supplier (s). Who will supply the Moroccan market now …

In late April, the Algerian regime threatened to terminate the agreement with Spain, which closed from late October 2021 after Madrid and Rabat decided to divert the flow of the Grep-Europe (GME) gas pipeline.

Algeria continues its hostile stance towards Morocco, concerned that in the process of reversing the GME flow, Algerian gas could be mixed with gas sent to Morocco. Madrid reacted quickly, recalling that it had agreed to authorize Rabat to use its renewable gas facilities only to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Morocco in the international market.

“The chances of Algeria violating its energy obligations to Spain, a key European ally, remain slim,” Indizar Fakir, project director for North Africa and Sahel, told the Middle East.

“Sonatrach, the country’s national energy company, does not want to break international agreements for a number of reasons and jeopardize its relationship with a key customer. Algeria has avoided transferring Algerian gas to Morocco under its current contract – and Madrid has assured Algerians that such a transfer will not take place.” . Intissar Fakir in this article titled “Algeria’s unstable approach to Morocco could have an impact on energy ties with Spain.”

The director of the North Africa and Sahel project (Mostafa Terrop, chairman of the OCP group, who is a member of the project’s advisory board) indicates that among the options considered by the Moroccan government, a restructuring to hire LNG was outsourced. “To this end, Moroccan officials visited Qatar, a gas exporter, in February to protect LNG levels. Morocco’s relations with Qatar are strong, especially during the siege of the country in the Gulf in 2017. Doha is unlikely to be forgotten,” the think tank with offices in Washington recalled.

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“In view of the cost of renting the gas facility, Morocco has turned to Spain to facilitate the operation of the LNG, which will then be shipped through GME. Can protect objects.

America, Nigeria, Qatar … spoiled

During a press conference on Friday, April 15, Energy Change Minister Leila Benali confirmed that the arrival of the first supplies to the two power plants, Tahaddart and Aïn Beni Mathar, was “a question in a few days”. Although Morocco seldom “enters the international LNG market”, “Moroccan teams have been able to develop a significant bargaining power in the face of experienced traders”.

Leila Penali did not seem to appreciate the quantity ordered by the Moroccan Party (ONEE and Onheim), which she considered less substantial than she had hoped for, although she welcomed the excitement that arose with the release of Morocco in the international LNG market. “We received dozens of responses. These are medium-term agreements,” the minister promised, without elaborating on the details of these agreements (price, quantity, supplier country).

“I am not a member of the ad hoc committee responsible for the gas file,” the minister said, adding that the announcement of the first distribution date is expected in the coming days.

More than two weeks after the minister’s significant departure, the Tahaddart and Ain Beni Mathar power plants are still closed, and none of the parameters of the new energy deal between Morocco and Spain have yet been filtered out.

According to the London News Agency R.aialyoumLNG tankers hired by Morocco must arrive via the Atlantic (excluding Qatar) from the United States or Nigeria, unloading cargo at the port of Huelva in Andalusia and starting the process of pumping to the GME hub in Cர்டrdoba.

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Instead of being satisfied with a single supplier, Morocco would have opted to diversify its supply sources due to the difficulty (scarcity and high cost) of obtaining gas in the international market related to the armed conflict between Russia. And Ukraine.

“Importing gas costs Morocco seven times as much as it received from Algeria via GME. Morocco does not require large quantities of gas, which makes it easier to get what it is looking for in the international market”, however. Royalum.