Algeria and Spain agreed this week to set up a joint venture to prepare for
laying a pipeline to bring Algerian gas to Spain. Under an accord concluded between the Algerian state-owned oil company (SONATRACH) and the Spanish oil group (CEPSA), the venture will have a capital of$500,000, equally shared by the two countries.
The projected pipeline is destined to be a first section of a larger network that will convey Algerian
gas directly to Europe, without crossing Morocco. Spain already receives Algerian gas through the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline, which crosses
Algeria’s SONATRACH had set up in the past a joint venture with Gaz de France and the Spanish ENAGAS first a joint venture, called SEGAMO. The three parties had identified a sea corridor between the Algerian Mediterranean town of Saf and the Spanish city of Almeria, as the shortest distance that the proposed pipeline can cross.
US Bechtel company had been chosen to manufacture 16-inch pipes for the project, which failed for economic and technological problems. The Algerian company said in a release that the new
project “comes to meet the growing demand in gas in Europian markets, particularly in Spain.”
Europeans consume nearly 270 billion cubic meters of gas annually.
The sub-marine pipeline will be constructed according the specification of the Oman to India pipeline, said the company.
The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of Algeria’s economy, accounting for roughly 52 percent of budget revenues, 25 percent of GNP, and over 95 percent of export earnings.
Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks fourteenth for oil reserves. — (MEBG-Albawaba)