The National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), launched a call for tenders in order to carry out topographic and parcel studies, relating to the construction of a new 300 km long Atlantic gas pipeline starting from the north of Morocco by connecting Tangier to Casablanca.
The Kingdom intends to launch shortly the realization of this pipeline project. As for the study, it will be carried out in two phases spread over two zones. The first phase will cover the area between the Tangier-Tetouan-Al-Hoceima region and that of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (100 kilometers). The second phase concerns the area between the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region and the Casablanca-Settat region (200 kilometers). The designated service provider will have to choose the optimal route of the area concerned, the topographic survey by drone and draw up a detailed plot study.
The lead time for this study is set at 6 months (two months for phase 1 and four months for phase 2). The cost of providing this service is estimated at three million dirhams. This project is part of the Gas to Power Plan which provides for this gas pipeline connecting the LNG terminal to the Maghreb-Europe pipeline and which should serve the Casablanca-Settat region.
In addition, the conflict between Spain and Morocco could jeopardize the renewal of the concession of the Maghreb gas pipeline which will expire next October. Naturgy and Galp have spent almost two years of tug-of-war trying to renew a contract signed 25 years ago with Morocco but on which no agreement has yet been reached despite attempts by the parties involved. Last summer, the concession was about to be renewed, but in the end, luckily one would say, no agreement was reached.
The concession granted to the company EMPL to transport Algerian gas to Europe has become practically zero for Naturgy, which now only has the alternative Medgaz (Algeria-Almeria) route of which Sonatrach is one of the shareholders. Naturgy, formerly Gas Natural, has for main activities the distribution and marketing of natural gas and electricity. Its head office was transferred from Barcelona to Madrid following the Catalan independence process. Naturgy signed a major gas purchase agreement with Algeria two years ago. It has been revised downwards recently, the company decided to reduce its dependence on gas and renegotiate the contract to reduce it almost in half due to a sharp drop in consumption.
The gas company can use Medgaz to transport the full 10 Gm3 of gas it has contracted with Algeria, it should no longer go through Morocco. But having a second supply route gives Naturgy additional activity and increases the security of supply of the gas system. The lack of agreement between Naturgy and the Moroccan government also led the company to apply criteria of financial prudence given the risk of non-renewal of the concession. The 2019 accounts already included a provision of 80 million euros reserved at the end of the concession.