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    Spain Skirts Morocco in Bid to Secure National Gas Supplies


    October 4, 2021 - Morocco World News

     

      Spain is ensuring a constant flow of natural gas despite a diplomatic breakdown between its southern neighbors.

      Spain sent a preemptive diplomatic mission to Algiers in response to the looming energy crisis in Europe. Algeria's LNG production supplies Spain with half of its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports.

      While this has traditionally been conducted via a pipeline linking Algeria to Spain through Morocco, recent diplomatic issues prompted Algeria to announce it will direct gas intended for Spain through a separate pipeline linking Algeria to Spain directly over the Mediterranean.

      At the end of this month, a 25-year distribution agreement between the three countries will officially come to an end, leaving the future of gas transportation in the area uncertain.

      The new pipeline initiative will likely raise gas prices for Spain, and the announcement prompted Albares' immediate visit to Algiers to discuss the situation with Algerian officials. After a meeting between the two groups, Albares stated he was 'reassured about the continuity of natural gas supplies." He also went on to label Algeria a 'first-rate partner.'

      The Spanish are being forced to juggle diplomatic relations between both countries while simultaneously mending ties with Rabat. After relations between Morocco and Spain hit a low point earlier this year, Spanish officials have continued trying to court Rabat to return the two countries to some semblance of normal bilateral cooperation.

      The rupture of ties between the two countries earlier this year put Madrid in a precarious position. Morocco functions as Spain's number one security partner in North Africa, and Madrid often relies on the North African kingdom to prevent irregular migration, human and drug trafficking, and transnational criminal enterprises.

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