Gas: Ukraine crisis ‘creates new opportunities in Algeria’, Washington Post

Algeria has long been a mid-stakes player in the global oil and gas export game, but Europe’s energy crisis has created an opening, US newspaper The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi traveled to Algiers a few weeks ago to sign an agreement to increase natural gas imports from Algeria by 40% through an underutilized gas pipeline that runs under the Mediterranean Sea.

Russia’s ability to use its power over energy flows as an economic weapon against Europe will only diminish, the American newspaper reminded, pointing out that this could push Russia to use that weapon now that it has influence.

“All of this creates new opportunities in Algeria and other African countries. Algeria was already exporting gas to Europe before the war broke out. She sent it to Italy and Spain via pipeline,” explains the same source.

Algeria also has additional capacity in plants that convert natural gas into a liquid suitable for transport, according to the American daily.

A number of problems prevent further exports

There were a number of issues preventing further exports, some including concerns about having enough fuel for domestic consumption as the country’s economy grows, and geopolitical considerations about being too closely tied to Europe.

But the main thing holding back Algeria and other African countries with large natural gas reserves has been Europe’s preference for Russian gas, which is cheaper and more readily available, Energy for Africa expert Vijaya Ramachandran at the Breakthrough Institute in California told The Washington Post.

Europe has also viewed Russian gas as an easier way to transition to renewable energy, as it did not require large new investments in pipelines and other infrastructure at home and abroad.

Other oil and gas exporters that have not been the focus of global energy discussions, such as Angola, Nigeria and the Republic of Congo, are also emerging as potential players in Europe’s future, according to the same source.

European nations rushing to rid themselves of Russian gas are turning to more reliable but more expensive liquefied natural gas suppliers like Qatar and the United States.

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