Algeria’s Sonatrach Send ‘Small’ Amount of Butane to Moroccan Clients

January 4, 2022
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Rabat – Taoufik Hakkar, CEO of Algeria’s oil company Sonatrach, said today that the company has transported a small amount of propane and butane to Morocco under previous contracts with Moroccan customers, acknowledging the contracts expired at the end of 2021.

Hakkar’s remarks come amid recent news about Sonatrach gas vessels reaching Morocco’s Mohammedia and El Jadida ports between November and early December.

Speaking to Algerian news outlet Echorouk, the Sonatrach chief said that the Algerian group’s contracts with Moroccan companies “have not been renewed in compliance with Algeria’s decision [to terminate the contract for gas pipeline crossing Morocco].”

“The quantities that were initially destined for the Moroccan market were directed to other Mediterranean markets,” Hakkar added.

In October 2021, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered the cessation of commercial relations between Sonatrach and the Moroccan Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE).

The decision, which was expected from Algeria after it severed ties with Morocco in August 2021, only has an “insignificant impact” on the performance of Morocco’s electricity system, according to Moroccan local electricity and hydrocarbon authorities.

As Morocco-Algeria tensions escalated in recent weeks, many observers expressed concerns over the potential repercussions of the diplomatic crisis over Morocco’s gas market. 

Even after Algeria terminated the Europe-Maghreb Pipeline, however, Morocco’s government repeatedly emphasized that the Algerian decision would not affect the country’s gas supply for households.

Leila Benali, the Moroccan Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, reaffirmed in December last year that the supply of butane gas to the national market would be maintained “in the best conditions” despite Algeria’s termination of its long-running pipeline agreement with Spain and Morocco.