- Algeria's state-owned gas and electricity company, Sonelgaz, has confirmed its plan to export electricity to Spain through the territory of the national archrival, Morocco. Morocco's power grid would thus be connected to Algeria.
Sonelgaz Chief Executive Nourredine Bouterfa has confirmed these plans. Mr Bouterfa said Sonelgaz and the Moroccan Electricity Office would go into a joint venture to facilitate the process.
"Morocco is finalising a 400-KW line, which will link a line of Sonelgaz in the country's West to help reach Spain," he told the government controlled news agency 'Algérie Presse Service' (APS). He further said the two parties should initially agree on the price of electricity transit.
Sonelgaz is Algeria's National Society for Electricity and Gas and a major state company and cash provider in this centrally directed economy. For Sonelgaz and the Algerian government, the opportunity to pass through Moroccan soil opens up opportunities to export more electricity, not only crude oil and gas, to Europe.
For Morocco, the new infrastructure would also mean a great resource as Algeria is a major electricity producer, while Morocco has few energy sources. Moroccan authorities have thus far considered it a taboo getting dependent on Algerian energy, but will now use the electricity on its way to Spain as a stabilising pool for its own power grid.
For Algeria and Morocco which had been in conflict for 30 year over the sovereignty of Western Sahara, the joint venture would be great milestone for the regional integration. Within the Maghreb, these two countries are currently blocking all efforts to create a united economic powerhouse in North Africa due to their conflictive relations.
Since 1976, Algeria and Morocco have been at loggerheads over Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara. Algeria is the main supporter of POLISARIO, which is fighting for Western Sahara’s independence.
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