Algiers evokes surge in gas prices for Spain

Algerian public oil and gas company Sonatrach said on Friday (April 1) that it had a “recalculation» Prices of gas delivered to Spain in connection with diplomatic tensions between Algiers and Madrid over the Western Sahara issue. “Since the beginning of Crisis in Ukraine , gas and oil prices are exploding. Algeria has decided to keep relatively correct contract prices for all its customers. However, it is not impossible to carry out a “recalculation” of the prices with our Spanish customer” its CEO Toufik Hakkar explained to the official agency APS.

Spain, which is heavily dependent on Algeria for its gas supplies, radically changed its position on 18th March on the thorny issue of its former colony of Western Sahara. For the first time, the Spanish government publicly backed the Moroccan autonomy project for Western Sahara, while Madrid has maintained a neutral position between Rabat and the Algiers-backed Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front.

turn around»

denouncing a “turn aroundAlgiers recalled its ambassador to Spain on March 19. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez then promised “do everything possible to restore diplomatic relations, which have unfortunately deterioratedat one of the most important gas suppliers in Spain. According to Rabat, he is expected to arrive soon at the invitation of King Mohammed VI. visit Morocco as part of a normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations after a year of estrangement.

The conflict in Western Sahara, a vast area of ​​phosphate-rich desert with fish-rich waters, has pitted Morocco against the Polisario separatists since the Spanish withdrawal in 1975.

Asked about the possibility for Algeria to increase its supply capacity to Europe, which is looking for alternatives to Russian gas, Mr Hakkar explained that Sonatrach “currently several billion (available m3, editor’s note) that cannot replace Russian gas“. On the other hand, “With the pace of our exploration, our capacity will double over the next four years, indicating promising prospects with our European customers“, specified the CEO of Sonatrach.

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