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    French Think Tank: Algiers’ Decision Does Not Affect Morocco’s Energy

    As the gas supply deal ends, experts are optimistic about Morocco’s strategy to produce energy and make up for the loss of access to Algeria’s gas pipe.

    07 Nov 2021

    Rabat - Algeria’s decision not to renew the contract for the Maghreb Europe Gas (GME) pipeline does not seem to have an impact on Morocco due to the country’s power surplus and its strategy to diversify the energy mix to ensure steady electricity supply.

    The contract for the pipeline, which supplies Spain with gas from Algeria through Morocco ended on October 31. The decision came shortly after Algeria’s government announced ending diplomatic ties with Morocco.

    President of the Paris-based think tank Institute for European perspective and Security (IPSE) Emmanuel Dupuy described Algeria’s position as “an unfriendly political act,” underlining that the decision is not as impactful as many think.

    To explain why the termination of the GME pipe won’t have major effects on Morocco’s electricity, Dupuy highlighted the country’s good climate performance and the considerable increase in the energy produced by the Nour solar plant in the Southern city of Ouarzazate and that of the Al-koudia Al-Baida wind

    farm in the Northern city of Tetouan.

    Additionally, there are considerable investments of around MAD 14.5 billion ($1.5 billion) to expand the domestic share of renewable energies by 2024.

    The issue of gas is “perfectly superficial” since 37% of Morocco's electricity is induced by alternative energies and that by 2030, 52% of its energy mix will be dependent on renewable energies, he added.

    The French expert in geopolitics and geostrategy argued that the diversification of the energy mix represents for Morocco “an act of faith” and “a particularly legitimate act since COP22 of 2016.”

    Morocco has been committed for several years to sustainable development, with renewable energies and energy efficiency as its priority to tackle climate challenges.

    The French expert in geopolitics and geostrategy said in a statement to Morocco’s state media agency that the North African country’s remarkable efforts on the African continent have been recognized internationally by several world leaders during the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

    The French expert noted that Morocco has “more than enough to make up for Algerian gas, which was only a transit gas anyway.”

    Algeria’s gas was not sold to Morocco, it was retroceded as a transit gas intended primarily for Spain and it only used to supply 10% of Morocco’s electricity.

    The geopolitical scientist argued that Algiers’ closure of the pipeline is “above all a decision with regard to Spain,” noting that the Spanish government is particularly concerned about Algiers’ commitment to provide Spain with gas.

    Meanwhile, Algerian authorities assured that they are able to honor the commitment through two other gas pipelines that should soon be able to deliver nearly 40 billion cubic meters of gas.

    “The real question that arises is whether these two pipelines will have the capacity to do so. Some believe that this is not possible,” Dupuy said.

    Concerning economic reasons that pushed Algiers to close the GME, the expert explained that the decision was “driven by an internal economic obligation” marked by an increase in domestic consumption.

    Around 53% of gas produced by Algeria goes into the domestic market whereas only 47% is intended for export.

    In 2018, Algerian oil production for export reached 36.3 million tonnes against 25.9 million tonnes in 2019.

    At the same time, domestic consumption in Algeria continued to increase: 42.3 million tonnes in 2018 followed by 43.6 in 2019.

    Algeria’s gas industry has faced a few difficult years, with production declining amid low gas prices. Currently, gas prices are skyrocketing, while Algeria struggles to boost production.

    “The exponential growth in the internal consumption of gas in Algeria explains why the GME pipeline appears a little anachronistic while Algeria struggles to honor its commitment to provide Spain with gas,” Duruy added.

    Thus, the gas pipeline decision is “political and economical,” with Algeria seeking to transform the “economic decision” into a political one to “sanction Morocco.”

    moroccoworldnews

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