The Algerian public hydrocarbons group Sonatrach announced on Thursday (October 6th) that it had signed a contract with its main customer in Spain, Naturgy, to ” revise “ the prices of the gas it supplies to it. The nature of this ” revision “ has not been specified, but Sonatrach has mentioned in recent months, in the context of a diplomatic crisis between Algiers and Madrid, a rise in the price of its gas sold to Spain.
This decision was announced at a time when prices continue to climb due to disruptions in the supply of Russian gas to Europe due to the war in Ukraine, a country invaded by Russia.
“Sonatrach and its partner Naturgy have agreed to revise the prices of existing long-term gas supply contracts in light of market developments, thus ensuring the balance of their contracts on a win-win basis”the Algerian company said in a statement.
The agreement was signed in Algiers by Sonatrach CEO Toufik Hakkar and his Naturgy counterpart Francisco Reynes Massanet. Naturgy is the main Spanish buyer of Algerian gas. The Spanish group is an almost equal shareholder (49%/51%) with Sonatrach of the Medgaz pipeline, which directly links Spain to the Algerian gas fields.
The question of Western Sahara
According to Enagas, manager of the Spanish gas network, Algeria was Spain’s second gas supplier in August (24%), behind the United States (26.5%) and ahead of Nigeria (15.3%). . The share of Algerian gas in Spanish imports has fallen sharply in recent months, whereas until recently it represented 50% of its imports. This decline occurred against a backdrop of serious tensions between Algiers and Madrid.
The Algerian government has been very upset with Spain since the government of socialist Pedro Sánchez decided in March to support Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, in order to end a nearly year-long diplomatic crisis. between Madrid and Rabat.
In response to this volte-face in Madrid’s traditionally neutral position, the Algerian authorities suspended a cooperation treaty with Spain in early June. The question of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the UN, has for decades opposed Morocco – which controls 80% of it – to the separatists of the Polisario Front, supported by Algiers.
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