Spain’s gas imports from US, Russia rise amid tensions with Algeria


The makeup of Spain’s natural gas suppliers has radically shifted over the last year, according to data released by the operator of the country’s national gas grid on Monday.

The most striking difference has been the US rising to become Spain’s top natural gas supplier. Its liquified natural gas (LNG), shipped to Spain overseas by maritime tankers, now makes up around one-third of the gas consumed in Spain.

So far this year, Spain has bought nearly 97,000 gigawatt hours from the US – up 269% from the same time in 2021, Enagas data showed.

That increase comes to make up for plummeting imports from Algeria, which have fallen by around 40% in 2022 compared to the last year.

In a major blow to Spain’s gas supply, Algeria turned off the Maghreb-Europe pipeline in November 2021, following the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Algeria.

The Maghreb-Europe pipeline used to transport natural gas through Morocco to the Iberian Peninsula, but now only a single direct pipeline transporting gas from Algeria to Spain remains in operation.

Despite discussing ramping up LNG supplies from Algeria to compensate for the pipeline’s closure, LNG imports from Algeria have also dropped to just one-third of what they were in 2021.

In June, the government in Algiers suspended its cooperation treaty with Madrid after the Spanish administration backed the Moroccan position on the independence of Western Sahara.

As a result, Spain has increasingly turned to other nations for its energy security.

Despite the war in Ukraine, Spain’s natural gas imports from Russia increased 23% this year compared to 2021.

Imports from Nigeria have also surged to meet 14% of Spain’s gas demand, up from 10.7% in 2021.

This August, natural gas accounted for 32% of all of Spain’s energy mix – double the figure from the same month in 2021.

It is partially explained by Spain experiencing its hottest summer on record and widespread drought. Consequently, hydropower generation dropped from 9% to 4% in Spain’s energy mix.

Meanwhile, coal use doubled to 4% in August, while solar provided 16% of Spain’s energy, up one percentage point from 2021.

Nuclear energy provided 22% of Spain’s energy last month, yet the country plans to start phasing out all its nuclear reactors in 2027.



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