.com | 13:18 – 4 September 2021
The rupture of relations between Algeria and Morocco could make a first victim after Algiers hinted that in October it would cut the gas pipeline which has supplied Spain for twenty years through Moroccan territory. A situation in which the three countries would be the losers, reports the Swiss media swissinfo.
In order to better understand the issue, the media explains that the GME is a conduit over 1,400 kilometers long that begins in the Algerian countryside of Hassi R’mel. It crosses Moroccan territory for about 540 kilometers and passes through Gibraltar in an underwater section of about 45 kilometers before reaching Cadiz. On average, it transports 10,000 million cubic meters to the peninsula annually.
Meanwhile, Medgaz, with a length of over 750 kilometers that directly connects the Algerian countryside to Spain (Almería), entered service in 2010 and has a capacity of 8,000 million cubic meters. But Algeria recently announced that it had increased its capacity by 25% to meet Spanish demand, the same source said.
The media reports that according to several experts, the replacement of GME by Medgaz announced by Algeria has political reasons and seeks to harm its western neighbor, but specialists warn that it will be costly not only for Morocco, but also for Algeria and Spain.
According to experts consulted by Efe, Morocco could face supply problems for this fossil if it does not find alternatives in the short term, given that almost all of the natural gas it consumes comes from Algeria.
According to analyst Gonzalo Escribano, director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Royal Elcano Institute, one of the solutions Morocco has after October 31 if the GME contract is not renewed (which expires on that date) , is to reverse the direction of this pipe in the section which connects Morocco to Spain so that the latter supplies natural gas to the Maghreb countries from other suppliers.
However, Escribano believes that the best solution is for the parties to come to a sense of cooperation and for Spain to negotiate with Algeria a possible gradual closure of the GME to find alternatives and test the effectiveness of Medgaz.
“The GME is a functional strategic cooperation element that benefits all parties,” the Spanish analyst told Efe.
Escribano shares the idea of Moroccan economist Rachid Aourraz, from the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA), who believes that the possible end of GME “will end the opportunity to advance economic integration” in this Mediterranean region.