Morocco prepares port infrastructure for LNG imports –energy minister

Morocco's Energy Minister Leila Benali speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 4, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

RABAT, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Moroccan government is preparing port infrastructure for imports of liquefied natural gas to boost reserves after Algeria ended gas supplies through a pipeline on Oct. 31, the country's energy minister said on Monday.

The infrastructure will help lower the cost of LNG imports for private operators, Leila Benali told members of parliament.

The Energy Department is also examining financial and gas supply details for a future floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) that would guarantee all of Morocco’s gas needs.

A source told Reuters last month that Tangier was added as a possible location for the FSRU, where it could plug into the now-discontinued Algeria-Spain pipeline.

Following a year of worsening relations between Algiers and Rabat before a pipeline deal expired on Oct. 31, Algeria said it would supply Spain through a different pipeline and would no longer send gas to Morocco.

Morocco’s local gas production is expected to reach 110 million cubic metres in 2021, while its annual consumption stands at 1 billion cubic metres. Most of it was once supplied by the halted pipeline.

Morocco’s natural gas needs would triple to 3 billion cubic metres by 2040 as the country looks to LNG to boost its low carbon transition and address the irregular supply of renewables, Benali said.

The minister also confirmed reports that Morocco plans to increase its renewable energy target to over 52% of the energy mix by 2025.

The current share of renewables in the energy mix is 37% or 3950 megawatts, according to official figures

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Peter Cooney

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