Morocco in favour of maintaining Algerian gas pipeline supplying Spain

The confirmation of the extension of the contract comes in the midst of the crisis with Algeria

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   The gas pipeline linking Spain, Morocco and Algeria, which was established under an agreement signed between the parties concerned for a period of 25 years, expires next October

The director of Morocco's National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), Amina Benjadra, said that her country is in favour of maintaining the Algerian pipeline that supplies natural gas to Spain and whose contract is due to expire on 31 October.

"Morocco's will to maintain this export channel has been clearly and consistently affirmed at all levels for more than three years," Benjadra stressed in an interview with the daily Le Jour, which is part of the official MAP news agency.

For Benjadra, the pipeline, which has been in operation since 1996 and also supplies gas to Portugal, "is a formidable tool of win-win cooperation and an example of a win-win regional project".

Atalayar_Gasoducto Marruecos
PHOTO/REUTERS - Morocco in favour of maintaining Algerian gas pipeline supplying Spain

He recalled that the gas pipeline, called Duran Farrell, was built to allow Algerian gas to reach Europe via Morocco "under optimal safety conditions" and is staffed and managed by Moroccans through the company Metragaz.

The Duran Farrell pipeline is 1,375 kilometres long: 520 kilometres in Algeria, 540 kilometres in Morocco, 45 kilometres of underwater pipeline through the Strait of Gibraltar and the rest in Spanish territory.

Spain receives gas from Algeria through this pipeline and another, called Medgaz, which since 2011 has linked the coasts of Almeria with those of the Algerian city of Beni Saf.

Algeria, which has not yet made a decision on the renewal of the Duran Farrell contract, is the main supplier of natural gas to Spain. In 2020, 29% of its imported gas came from there, according to data from the Corporación De Reservas Estratégicas de Productos Petrolíferos (Cores).

PHOTO/MAP - Morocco's King Mohammed VI, in his address to the nation on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the Day of the Throne

Morocco's confirmation of its intention to extend the contract comes in the midst of the crisis with Algeria. The two countries have kept their land borders closed since 1994, but relations have worsened since Morocco's rapprochement with Israel in exchange for US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Indeed, Algeria this week accused its western neighbour of being behind the fires that have ravaged the country and announced that it will reconsider relations between the two.

For its part, Morocco has made several attempts at rapprochement with Algeria, most clearly that of the Moroccan king, Mohammed VI, who in his last speech tried to build bridges with his neighbour, so far to no avail.