Algeria threatens huge EU bust-up as Spain and Italy clash over deal to SLASH Russian ties

Ukraine: Europe shamed over Russia gas sanctions delay

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has signed an agreement to bolster energy ties with the North African nation, in an effort to decrease the country’s energy dependence on Russia. This is a major blow to Vladimir Putin, as Rome imported 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia in the past year, amounting to some 29 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 48 days ago, many European countries have realised the urgent need to decrease their reliance on Moscow’s energy exports, both to safeguard their energy security, and as a way to strike at the heart of Russia’s economy.

However, this deal could spark a conflict between Italy and Spain, as the two compete over Algerian gas.

While Algiers does supply a significant amount of gas to both the EU member states, experts warn that it cannot ramp up production to meet the increased needs without significant new investment.

Davide Tabarelli, an energy analyst for Italian consultancy Nomisma said that in the past three decades, the country has not invested much in ramping up new production, and needs the cash to do so.

The Transmed pipeline that links the two countries through the Mediterranean is not running at full capacity, as Algeria does not have the gas needed to fill it.

With Algerian gas in short supply, and Russian gas increasingly proving unappealing, it could start a scramble between the nations to secure as much energy from the North African nation as they can.

As it stands, the dispute will significantly favour Italy as relationships between Algeria and Spain have hit a low point.

Last month, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that he would back Morocco’s 2007 proposal to grant Western Sahara an autonomous status.

The former Spanish colony was annexed by Morocco in 1975, much to the dismay of Algeria, which supports Western Sahara’s independence.

Writing in a letter to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, Mr Sánchez noted that Morocco’s plan to give the former Spanish colony autonomy was “the most serious, credible and realistic basis for the resolution of this disagreement”.

While Morocco rejoiced at this plan, it put relationships between Madrid and Algiers on ice.

As a result, Algeria shut down a gas pipeline that flows through Morocco to reach Spain, which was significant as it provided Spain with nearly half of its gas supply.

Solar storm warning: ‘Radiation risk’ as ‘major’ event rocks Earth [INSIGHT] 
Denmark stockpiles 2 million iodine tablets as nuclear fears soar [REVEAL] 
Putin threatens to STARVE Germany in horror retaliation to measures [SPOTLIGHT]

However, it insisted that gas supplies to the Iberian Peninsula would continue through the remaining undersea Medgaz pipeline.

It is unclear whether this new deal between Italy and Algeria would have an impact on the remainder of the gas flowing to Spain, with Alessandro Lanza, a professor of energy policy at Luiss University in Rome, noting that under the contracts, Algeria cannot divert the gas it currently supplies to Spain.

However, Mr Tabarelli suggests that the desperate need to reduce the EU’s reliance on Russian gas may make the two European countries put aside any differences.

He noted that while Algeria can’t divert its gas commitments away from Spain to Italy, Madrid could voluntarily renounce some of its share of natural gas and replace it with liquefied natural gas.

Source: Read Full Article