Algeria remains for the second consecutive month as Spain's main gas supplier, a position it regained last September in the midst of the bilateral crisis after having lost ground as an exporter in recent months to the United States.
The Maghreb country supplied 21.2% of gas through the Medgaz pipeline, one fifth of monthly consumption, according to the latest figures from the Spanish energy company Enagás. Algeria is thus four percentage points above the United States, which supplied Spain with 17.2% of the gas consumed in October.
The North American giant had tripled its energy exports to Spain since the beginning of the year, from just 11% to 35% of Spain's total consumption last July. The United States is by far Spain's leading gas supplier so far this year, although it has been temporarily relegated to second place.
In fact, the arrival of LNG tankers from the other side of the Atlantic has accounted for almost half of Spain's gas imports in 2022. However, their export figures have decreased in the last two months, according to updated data.
Algeria's recovery does not seem to have been the result of a détente in bilateral relations with Spain. Firstly, because the North African nation has not even increased the volume of its exports. Secondly, because the Algerian state energy company Sonatrach revised its natural gas supply contracts with Naturgy upwards at the beginning of October and, unlike the price reductions granted to other European states, Algeria increased prices.
Naturgy and Sonatrach have contractual ties until 2030, but prices are updated every two years based on the state of the market. Algeria's unilateral breach of the Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation signed by the parties two decades ago has significantly affected the terms of the agreement.
Even before the diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Algiers, specifically in October 2021, the energy relationship between the two countries was damaged as a result of the closure of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline that passed through Morocco to reach the Peninsula. The underlying reason was the Western Sahara dispute.
The explanation is much simpler. In September, the Maghreb country reaffirmed its position as the leading gas supplier because the rest of Spain's gas exporters ostensibly reduced the amount of gas flowing to the Iberian Peninsula. And the same equation occurred again in October.
As for Russian gas, Spain imported a volume of 11.7% in October, above the annual average of 11.4%. Despite the sanctions, most European countries continue to draw their energy supplies from Russia.
In any case, there is no doubt that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has served as a catalyst for Algeria's economic recovery. Algeria has gained market share on European soil since February, when Brussels launched the first sanctions against Russia's economy.