ALGERIA-GAS-EUROPE-ENERGY-CRISIS
Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project (File Photo/TEH/Archives)

Algeria/ TEH: European countries such as Italy have begun to move towards Algeria to obtain its need for natural gas, in an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian gas, which is being subjected to Western exclusion due to its war on Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine tends to give Algeria opportunities in the field of gas, but there is no desire to compensate for Russian gas, given the difference in production, and because this means a rapid depletion of the fields.

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Russia’s gas production. Natural annually is 638 billion cubic meters, while Algerian production is slightly more than 130 billion cubic meters, according to official data.

At the dawn of last February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine, which was followed by angry international reactions and the imposition of “tough” economic and financial sanctions on Moscow.

The operation resulted in a significant increase in crude oil prices, which exceeded $130 per barrel, its highest level since 2008.

Natural gas prices also rose on the international market against the backdrop of the Russian attack on Ukraine, and the price of 1 megawatt-hour in Europe reached 322 euros (Monday, March 7), at a record level.

Following the Russian operation, the United States announced that it would stop its imports of Russian gas and oil, and Britain intends to stop relying on energy from Russia by the end of this year.

A few days ago, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had phone talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, on the file of energy cooperation, according to a statement by the Algerian presidency.

European mistakes

In this context, the Algerian economic expert, Mustafa Mogadishu, explained in an interview with “Anatolia” that the sequence of events and the war in Ukraine showed that Europe had a wrong view on a number of energy-related files.

Mustafa Mogadish pointed out that the Europeans were talking about diversifying sources of energy supplies, and not relying excessively on Russia, “but the actions on the ground were saying the opposite.”

“One of Europe’s mistakes is that it wanted to cancel the long gas contracts linking it to Algeria, and they were reduced to a period of 10 years at most, after it was more than 20 years, even though it is a reliable and guaranteed source of supply.”

He commented, “Europe originally wanted to get rid of long contracts and move towards a free market for gas.”

Even when Algeria launched the Maghreb-European gas pipeline project, passing through Morocco to Spain (it was suspended last fall), its view was that Algerian gas would reach France and from there to the heart of Europe by linking France with Spain through the Pyrenees Mountains, but that did not happen. Happen or occur”.

No Compensation

Moqadis, a former vice-president of the Economic and Social Council (subordinate to the presidency), believes that the Ukrainian war carried serious concerns about oil and gas supplies to Europe, although the old continent cannot stop the supply of Russian energy.

“The solution for Europe in the medium term is not available, no matter how much it tries to resort to other sources in the Gulf, Nigeria or elsewhere.”

The expert ruled out an increase in Algerian gas supplies to other European countries such as Germany and Austria, considering that it is not available in the medium term at least.

He added, “Algeria has contracts with European partners such as Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and France, and has always fulfilled the agreed quantities in the concluded contracts.” The Eastern Herald online magazine.

Algeria supplies Europe via two pipelines, the first linking southern Italy through Tunisia, and the second linking southern Spain, and work was stopped on a third line linking the south of the Iberian Peninsula through Morocco last fall.

Algeria produced more than 130 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2022, according to official data of the state hydrocarbon company Sonatrach, of which more than 42 billion cubic meters were exported.

“Despite the existence of demands and pressures on the part of Europe, it is not possible for Algeria to pump more than what is available and available… Algeria will not kill and drain its fields in such an operation and is pumping more than the capacity of the fields,” according to the expert. One of the online magazines, The Eastern Herald.

He continued, “Personally, I ruled out cutting off Russian gas and oil supplies to Europe…because this is not in the interests of both parties.”

Gas ​​pipeline Nigeria – Algeria – Europe

Mustafa Mogadish believes that the Ukrainian crisis can push the “Nigeria-Algeria-Europe” gas pipeline project forward, given that it is directed primarily to cover the consumption of the old continent.

He commented, “Although the project is directed to Europe, we did not see any European country declaring its support for this project… until the recent climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, through which several countries tried to freeze Western companies’ investments in (traditional) fossil energies in other (African) countries. and others).

The Algerian-Nigerian renewed interest in an old project to transport gas to Europe, within the framework of what is known as the “trans-Saharan pipeline”, which passes, according to plans, from the jungles of Africa to the old continent, coinciding with a global gas crisis and the war in Ukraine.

Talks about the Nigeria-Algeria African gas pipeline project began more than 20 years ago, accompanying a project of the same name, the Trans-Saharan Road, which starts from Algiers to Lagos, Nigeria, at a distance of 4,600 kilometers.

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