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New Road to Morocco

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German utility RWE is preparing to start gas exports from Spain to Morocco through the Maghreb–Europe (GME) pipeline following its restart, Energy Intelligence understands.

A source close to the matter told Energy Intelligence that exports could start “very soon,” with RWE forging ahead obtaining the necessary permits.

Although the exact details were not immediately clear, RWE will most likely deliver LNG cargoes from its portfolio to Spain and after regasification will flow the volumes into Morocco.

An RWE spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Maghreb-Europe Reversal

Flows in the 13 billion cubic meter per year Maghreb–Europe gas pipeline restarted on Tuesday, Jun. 28, as Spain has begun to send gas to Morocco, according to data by Spanish grid operator Enagas.

Although the exported volumes were initially low, real-time data by Enagas showed that flow rates rose to above 200,000 cubic meters per hour in the early afternoon on Wednesday.

The Maghreb-Europe pipe, which runs from Algeria through Morocco into southern Spain, had been idle since last November, when Algeria cut off gas supplies to Morocco, and stopped flows to Spain and Portugal after failing to renew the transit contract with the Iberian countries.

But Spain and Morocco have agreed to use the pipeline in reverse flow mode (Spain-to-Morocco direction), allowing Morocco access to Europe’s largest LNG market.

Morocco has been planning to build its own LNG import infrastructure to replace Algerian supplies, but in the meantime, it is understood that the country is looking to purchase LNG cargoes on the global market, unload them in Spain and flow the volumes into its territory through the Maghreb-Europe pipe.

First Cargo

The restart of the pipeline suggests that Morocco was indeed able to buy an LNG cargo, although it was not clear which one of the cargoes that have been unloaded at Spanish terminals in recent days was for the North African country.

Nonetheless, it is more likely that such a cargo would be delivered to a southern Spanish terminal rather than a northern one.

Two cargoes were unloaded on Jun. 25, one at the Huelva terminal and another at the Cartagena terminal, according to ship-tracking data by Kpler.

Topics:
LNG Trade, LNG Supply, Regasification, Gas Supply, Gas Pipelines
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