Algeria and Tunisia have concluded an agreement for the supply of gas until 2030. This was confirmed by the Tunisia's Energy and Mines Minister Mongi Marzouk after his meeting with his Algerian counterpart Mohamed Arkab. Two thirds of the gas that is consumed in Tunisia comes from Algeria, with which the small Maghreb country guarantees its supply for the next few years.
According to Marzouk, the new contract - which will run until 2020 - could include a reduction in preferential prices. The last contract signed by both Maghreb countries - signed in 2009 - expired last December. Tunisia has experienced a progressive economic deterioration since 2011 and its financial situation has worsened in recent months. The two energy ministers stressed the need for both countries to cooperate more closely on different matters, especially in a period such as the current one marked by the international health crisis. They also stressed the importance that Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya work closely on electricity production and distribution. The Algerian minister reported last February that Algerian gas exports to Europe had fallen by 22% by 2019.
On February 2, after the meeting between Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Tunisian President Kais Saied, Algeria pledged to inject 150 million dollars in the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT). Among other objectives, the loan will be used to maintain payment facilities for gas and hydrocarbon supplies, according to the Financial Afrik media. By 2014, Algeria had granted Tunisia financial assistance worth US$250 million.
Efe news agency reported on Sunday that Tunisian authorities have begun mining Nawara’s gas field in the southern region of Tataouine. It is estimated that daily production will reach 2.7 million cubic meters per day, equivalent to 7,000 barrels of oil and 3,200 of liquefied natural gas, according to data from the state agency TAP.
The field -discovered in 2006- will be managed by the Tunisian National Oil Company, ETAP, and the Austrian company OMV, both 50% shareholders, which invested 1.1 million euros. An investment that will double domestic gas production and reduce the energy and trade deficit by 20% and 7% respectively. The trade deficit reached a record 19.4 billion dinars (6.8 billion dollars) in 2019, according to official statistics, and the energy deficit contributed to almost a third of this figure, according to Oxford Business Group.
A 370-kilometer pipeline is expected to run from the field, carrying nearly 600,000 cubic meters per day from Nawara to Gabes, where a gas treatment plant is located, Efe reported.
The national production of crude oil stood at the end of Fabruary at 273KT (Thousand tonne), down by 5% compared with February 2019, reads a report on the monthly energy situation for February 2020 published by the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Energy Transition. Exports of energy products recorded at the end of February 2020 a drop in value by 6% and an increase in imports in value by 11% according to the Web Manager Center and TAP.
At the 15th annual conference of the Association of Tunisian Economists (ASECTU) held last June, several specialists had already warned of the drop in oil production in the country, which fell by 42% between 2010 and 2018, causing energy dependence to rise from 19% to 47% over the same period, Efe notes.