Spains Energy Security in the Context of the Algerian-Moroccan Conflict

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-9-48-57
E. Cherkasova,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 31.05.2023. Revised 10.06.2023. Accepted 29.06.2023.

Abstract. The energy crisis experienced by the European Union and representing a serious non-military threat to its security has not bypassed Spain. This is a country with a high degree of dependence on hydrocarbon imports. However, the energy crisis there has a number of specific features. It began in autumn 2021, when Algeria – the main supplier of gas to Spain – severed diplomatic relations with Morocco and closed the gas pipeline GME passing through its territory. In March 2022, yielding to the pressure of Rabat, Madrid changed its position on Western Sahara, de facto recognizing its belonging to Morocco. Since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine and before the acceptance of the Moroccan autonomy plan, everything indicated that Spain could play a key role in meeting the EU new energy security needs through its privileged relationship with Algeria. Having temporarily normalized its relations with Morocco, Spain missed the opportunity to become a European gas hub, ceding this role to Italy. Currently, the very structure of the Spanish energy sector is changing, and the country is going to close all operating nuclear power plants. Madrid is betting on diversifying energy supplies, the Algerian gas is being replaced by the American LNG. Russian gas supplies to Spain, previously not so significant, continue to decrease. The country is set to make a serious contribution to the energy transition since it has numerous renewable energy sources, technologies, production capacities and developed infrastructure. Events in Ukraine have accelerated the already existing energy crisis. As energy prices increased, Spain put forward the initiative for the European Union to approve emergency measures to deal with it. The solution, according to Madrid, is the acceleration of the energy transition. Brussels has actually allowed Spain to set top prices for gas that is used to generate electricity, thus lowering the bills for customers. Within the EU framework Madrid has achieved recognition of the special energy status of the Iberian Peninsula, and together with France and Portugal intends to build a new gas pipeline that will supply Europe with green hydrogen and, in the transition period, with natural gas. In general, Spain, although not without difficulties, is rather successfully coping with the current energy crisis.

Keywords: Spain, P. Sanchez, Morocco, Algeria, Western Sahara, European Union, energy security, energy crisis, gas


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For citation:
Cherkasova E. Spains Energy Security in the Context of the Algerian-Moroccan Conflict . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 9, pp. 48-57. EDN: TIXIDV

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