Methane tanker in Bilbao Port. / r.c.

Spain turns to the USA, Nigeria, Egypt and Qatar to maintain its gas supplies

The gas is brought in by methane tankers and this now accounts for 75% of imports, while supplies from Algeria have dropped by one-third following Russia's invasion of Ukraine

JOSÉ MARÍA CAMARERO Madrid

Geostrategic changes have been taking place to maintain a stable gas supply in Spain after nearly three months of the war in Ukraine. Spain has completely modified the origin of its suppliers following the tension in Russia – the main exporter for Europe – and after the conflict with Algeria, from where the Iberian Peninsula receives much of this raw material.

According to the figures for April, the USA is now the principal supplier of gas to Spain, and other countries such as Nigeria, Egypt and Qatar, among others, who exported very little to this country until two months ago, have also increased their supplies.

Specifically, in April gas from the USA represented 30.7% of all imports of this product, which is brought in by methane tankers to Spain’s six regasification plants. On average so far this year, America has been providing around one-third of the gas consumed in Spain. A year ago, it was barely 20%.

Imports from Algeria, through the Mezgas pipeline which links the country with Almeria, came second, accounting for 23.4% of the total in April. This was lower than before, because last year 40% of Spain’s gas came from Algeria. However, the closure of the pipeline linking the country with Cadiz via Morocco in November 2021 reduced supplies from this source by one-third.

Russia is still supplying 8%

Little by little, as weeks have passed, new energy partners have been consolidating their positions. In April Nigeria supplied nearly 17% of the gas Spain needed, compared with 10% last year; Egypt supplied 6%, compared with 1% on average; and Qatar supplied 4.4%, practically double the amount 12 months earlier. Russia is still supplying 8% of Spain’s gas, which is practically the same as before the Russian invasion.

At the same time, exports from Spain to Europe via the pipelines in the Basque Country and Navarra, which connect with France, are continuing to grow despite their minimal capacity in relation to all the gas that Spain can receive via methane tankers or the pipeline from Algeria.

The invasion of Ukraine has changed the direction in which the gas flows and the two pipelines are currently working at full capacity. In April Spain exported 5,618 GWh to France, and only received 464. It is the first time in history that there has been a negative balance of this size.