A cut in the gas supply from Algeria due to a fault sets off the alarms

The gas supply between Algeria and Spain has been temporarily reduced this Sunday due to maintenance work on the Medgaz marine gas pipelineEnagás has reported, specifying that there has been no a cut in supply in no time. The Algerian company Sonatrach issued a statement this afternoon reporting “a temporary interruption of gas supply to Spain” due to a breakdown on the Spanish side of the Medgaz gas pipeline.

“The Spanish technical teams they are working hard to carry out the repairs necessary to restore gas supply to Spain as soon as possible”, Sonatrach pointed out in the statement. However, Enagás sources have indicated that “at no time has the flow of gas been interrupted” that reaches Spain from Algeria by Medgaz.

Enagás explained that “this afternoon, according to information received from Medgaz, during routine maintenance work at the Beni Saaf Compression Station, the momentary cessationlasting two hours, of the flows” that depart from the Argelia plant to the Almería international connection.

“This has caused a decrease -which will not stop- in the inflows to Spain through said international connection. The problem has been solved and flows are recovering normally”, indicates the company, which has specified that the minimum flow has been 704,000 Nm3h.

For this reason, from Enagás they specify that in the Spanish gas system “there has been no no effect on security of supplythere has been no technical reason that has produced this situation, nor has any action been required to solve it”.

Diplomatic crisis with Algeria

Algeria decided last year not to extend an agreement to export gas to Spain through a gas pipeline that passes through Morocco, which constituted practically the entire supply of gas to the neighboring Maghreb country. Currently, it supplies gas to Spain through the Medgaz submarine gas pipeline and by sea with liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Today’s incident occurred at a time of diplomatic crisis between Spain and Algeria, a country that was the main supplier of gas to Madrid until February. Algeria, in turn, has strengthened an energy alliance with Italy and expects to review the prices in the new gas contracts with third countries, since the current ones are signed “well below the current market level.”

The president of Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, indicated at the beginning of this month that he is negotiating the revision of the prices of the gas exported by Algeria according to “the increase in the price of world gas” and that “you are doing it without taking into account the nature of the partner”. The two countries are in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis due to the change in position adopted last March by the Spanish Government on Western Sahara by supporting the Moroccan proposal for autonomy within Morocco.

The crisis deteriorated until last June 8, when Algeria suspended the Treaty of Friendship and announced the first measure economic retaliation by blocking foreign trade. The Spanish side was calm about having a guaranteed supply from its Algerian supplier, which it describes as a “reliable partner”, and ruled out any uncertainty or “fear” in this regard.