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Spain has sent another member of its government to Algeria to secure guarantees that its natural gas supply will not be affected when Algeria closes its gas pipeline through Morocco on Sunday

While it is a leader in wind and solar power, Spain still depends heavily on energy imports and Algeria provides more than a third of its natural gas. Spanish officials fear that a supply shortage will increase the surge in energy prices that have made electricity bills a major problem for its left-wing coalition government.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera’s trip to Algiers came just a month after the country’s foreign minister visited the Algerian capital to discuss the gas supply that , according to Spain, could be a collateral victim of Algeria’s diplomatic quarrel with Morocco.

After meeting the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, Ribera thanked him for “his promise to ensure the viability of the transport of natural gas and to honor the commitments of its purchase between different Algerian companies and Spanish ”.

Algeria has said it will not renew the deal which expires on Sunday and which has allowed its natural gas to flow through Morocco and into Spain for the past 25 years.

The pipeline that crosses northwest Africa before a short crossing from the Mediterranean to Zahara de los Atunes across the Strait of Gibraltar supplied Spain with just over 10% of all its natural gas. in 2020, according to CORES, the Spanish public company which watches over its strategic energy reserves.

A second, longer pipeline connecting Algeria to Almeria, on the south-eastern coast of Spain, currently supplies 16% of its total natural gas imports.

It is planned to increase the capacity of this pipeline from eight to 10 million square meters in the coming months. Even so, it will not entirely cover the deficit unless ships can bring enough liquefied natural gas to Spain directly from Algeria.

Ribera said his counterpart has also agreed to be prepared in case Spain asks to increase the supply of natural gas.

The Spanish diplomatic mission is intervening amid a surge in energy prices across Europe that is hitting the Iberian Peninsula hard and pushing up electricity bills for homes and businesses.

Ribera, a respected environmental policy official, has been tasked by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez with finding a solution.

She described Spain’s relations with Algeria concerning the supply of natural gas as “capital for the well-being of Spanish society”.

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ABC News

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