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Europe requests increase of Algeria’s gas supply amid Gaza, Ukraine wars

Some European countries have requested Algeria to increase its gas supply to the continent amid the ongoing global energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine and Israel’s war on Gaza.

“We are a Mediterranean country. We are a gas-producing country. We are being asked by our partners in Europe more and more to deliver additional quantities of gas,” said Ahmed Attaf, the Algerian foreign minister, on Sunday, 28 April.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh, Attaf noted that the Russia-Ukraine war continues to impact and disturb the energy distribution chain in the region.

When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, European countries — largely dependent on Russian gas — started looking to reduce this reliance by turning mainly to Algeria.

For instance, Italy — dependent on Russia for 40 per cent of its gas imports — has negotiated a long-term energy agreement with Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach.

Under the agreement, Algeria is to gradually increase gas flows to Italy via the Transmed pipeline, including an extra 9 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of gas this year — and supplemented by additional spot purchases.

Algeria is also a main gas supplier for Spain and France. Its gas reservoir has also allowed the North African country to strengthen its strategic and political role in the region.

The North African state has recorded a 25% year-on-year increase in LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports in the first seven months of 2023, reaching 8.8 Bcm.

Countries in the European perimeter have benefited from this growth, absorbing 3.7 Bcm (18 million cubic meters per day) of Algerian LNG as of 2023, according to Bloomberg.

Algeria’s drive to enhance domestic production and maintain high gas exports will require efforts to continue developing gas fields, similar to Sonatrach’s Hassi R’mel field Phase 3 Boosting project, which helped raise production levels in 2021.

“We have the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that is also impacting our region, and we have the Sahel region, (…) which requires more effective intervention from the UN and its Security Council,” added the Algerian minister in Riyadh.

Since last October, experts have warned that Israel’s war on Gaza could seriously threaten the regional natural gas market and could impact Europe’s LNG supply.

The prospect of Iran, a supporter of Hamas and a sworn enemy of Israel, being drawn into the conflict also presents a serious risk for the energy market.

Source: The New Arab