Maghreb Europe pipeline faces uncertainty due to severing Algeria-Morocco diplomatic ties

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Maghreb Europe pipeline faces uncertainty due to severing Algeria-Morocco diplomatic ties

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 13:16
Flags of Algeria and Morocco (copyright by Shutterstock/danielo)
Flags of Algeria and Morocco (copyright by Shutterstock/danielo)

Maghreb Europe Gas Pipeline faces uncertainty over the future of the pipeline project as Algeria and Morocco slide into diplomatic strife.

The severing of diplomatic ties between the two North African nations is feared to affect the future renewal of the pipeline project set to expire in October.

Maghreb pipeline that supplies more than 30% of natural gas used in Spain from Algeria through Morocco has been a subject of discussion after Algeria decided to sever its diplomatic ties with Morocco, raising concerns over potential repercussions.

According to the latest EFE report on the future of the Algeria-Morocco pipeline contract, some sources interviewed by the Spanish news outlet EFE suggest Algeria might not renew the pipeline contract due to the diplomatic fallout with her neighbor partner, Morocco.

While EFE’s report suggests ending the piped gas project could cost the two countries to different degrees, Spain’s foreign minister, Jose Manuel Albares promised the diplomatic wrangles would not jeopardize the pipeline’s future projects.

Morocco’s Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) director, Amina Benkhadra also emphasized Rabat’s commitment to the pipeline contract despite some underlying diplomatic issues.  “It is our will, as we expressed it verbally and publicly in private discussions, always with the same clarity, and the same consistency,” said Benkhadra.

Before Algeria decided to end her diplomatic ties with Morocco, Rabat had expressed its willingness to negotiate the pipeline project’s extension.

Amid the diplomatic fallout, the two states involved in the Maghreb Europe pipeline project, speculations are high on whether Morocco and Algeria will continue with the project, or cut off their ties due to their ongoing wrangles.

However, this is not the first time Morocco and her eastern neighbor are descending in a sheer diplomatic conflict. The two countries have been having diplomatic tensions for years, with Morocco accusing its neighbor of providing financial and logistical support to the Polisario Front.

The front consists of an armed group claiming an independent state in the southern provinces of Morocco.

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