The Algerian Oil and Gas Group (Sonatrach) has expressed its readiness to supply Europe with additional quantities of gas through the gas pipeline linking Algeria and Italy, should Russian exports be reduced due to the war in Ukraine, the company's CEO said yesterday.
In an interview with French newspaper La Liberté, Toufik Hakkar said that Sonatrach "is a reliable gas supplier for the European market and it is ready to support its partners in the long term in case the situation deteriorates."
He added that the availability of additional quantities of natural or liquefied gas is connected to "meeting the need in the national market and to contractual obligations" with foreign partners.
According to Hakkar, Sonatrach "has unexploited export capabilities through the TransMed pipeline," which links Algeria and Italy through Tunisia. These capabilities can be utilised to "increase quantities towards Europe."
The pumping capacity of the TransMed gas pipeline is about 32 billion cubic meters annually, four times larger than the Medgaz pipeline, which supplies Spain with Algerian gas.
The CEO of Sonatrach added that Algerian gas can reach countries that are not connected to the two gas pipelines, through the liquefied gas transported by ships. He noted that Europe is the "natural and preferred market" for Algeria. Algiers currently provides 11 per cent of Europe's gas needs.
Former Energy Minister Abdelmadjid Attar explained that "Algeria exports about 22 billion cubic meters through the TransMed pipeline," which also has a capacity for another ten billion cubic meters for export.
Russia exports between 150 billion and 190 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe each year, typically fulfilling 30-40 per cent of demand across the continent.
It accounts for 65 per cent of imports into Europe's economic powerhouse Germany and 100 per cent for countries such as Latvia and Czech Republic, the Guardian reports.
There have been fears that Moscow's war on Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and US may lead to the gas pipeline being turned off and Europe struggling to find alternative sources of energy.