Gas: Tunisia 'to benefit from new accord Italy-Algeria'

Commentators evaluate positive impact for Tunis

22 April, 14:31

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, APRIL 22 - An agreement signed on April 11 in Algiers by Italian Premier Mario Draghi and Algerian President Abdelajid Tebboune, for a gradual increase by 40% until 2024 of the volume of gas in transit in the pipeline Transmed, is seen by Tunisian commentators as an unexpected source of revenue for the country. Tunisia is experiencing a difficult economic situation with negative repercussions expected for cereal imports due to the war in Ukraine.

    Transmed, which crosses Tunisian territory for 400 kilometers before entering the Mediterranean in Italy's direction, generates royalties each year for Tunisia.

    According to the agreements in place, Tunisia earns a right of passage of 5.25% on the total of gas transported. Sale contracts signed since the implementation of the project in 1983 provide for payments in foreign currency or in natural gas for Tunisia.

    "These royalties will bring 500 billion of dinars to Tunisia in 2022", according to the minister of industry, mining and energy, Neila Noura Gongi, who stressed that they "cover, for the moment, 65% of the country's energy needs". Also seen from Algiers, this new agreement is fundamental because it consolidates Algeria's position in the region. "In one fell swoop, Algeria boosts its axis with Italy, giving a sort of present to Tunisian neighbors, cutting provisions to Morocco and increasing prices for 'mean' Spanish clients", stressed Sofiene Ahres on businessnews.com.tn.

    The accord is also an occasion for Algiers to attract Italian energy giant ENI for investments in solar power, in the south of the country. In this way, Algiers is not hiding its ambition anymore to become the main provider of 'clean' electric energy for the European continent, in particular with its Mega project "Solar 1000" which stretches over 4200 hectares and will generate a total capacity of 1000 MegaWatt. The accord on April 11, signed by the director general of ENI, Claudio Descalzi and the director general of Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, provides for an alignment of international market prices and a 40% increase of gas volumes towards Italy (9 billion m3).

    "Several other projects in the field of renewable energy are part of the accord", according to a statement released by Sonatrach for the occasion. Tunisia will not suffer from any sudden price increase because Algerians have maintained the old value. "Algiers is actually immediately gifting Tunisia with three billion of m3 of natural gas and another 6 in 2023. The agreement also provides for: 3 billion of m3 in liquefied natural gas (LNG)", wrote Sofiene Ahres. She concluded that, "from now on, nearly 30 billon of m3 of natural gas will travel each year at a speed exceeding Mach1 towards Italy through Transmed. The quota for Tunisia in this beautiful Italian-Algerian operation is 1.5 billion m3". (ANSAmed)
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