Medgaz Algeria-to-Spain gas pipeline completed

The Medgaz consortium has completed construction on the sub-Mediterranean natural gas pipeline connecting Algeria to Spain.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 8 -- The Medgaz consortium—comprised of Algeria's Sonatrach 36%; Spanish companies Cepsa 20%, Iberola 20%, and Endesa 12%; and newly merged GDF Suez 12%—has completed construction on the sub-Mediterranean natural gas pipeline connecting Algeria to Spain.

Medgaz said main contractor Saipem of Italy finished laying the last 24-in. pipes along the 210 km route, which runs from Beni Saf, Algeria, to Almeira, Spain.

Medgaz said it will conduct hydraulic tests on the line between January and March before the gas comes on stream in mid-2009.

Europe will welcome completion of the line, given its current distress associated with curtailment of Russian gas supplies via Ukraine (OGJ Online, Jan. 7, 2009).

In 2006, Spain and Italy, concerned about the reliability of supplies from Russia, asked Algeria to speed up construction of several new gas lines after a similar dispute between Russia and Ukraine disrupted gas flow to Europe (OGJ, Mar. 20, 2006, p. 57).

The 8 billion cu m/year Medgaz pipeline joins two other lines linking Algeria with southern Europe: the 12 billion cu m/year Pedro Duran Farell line via Morocco to Spain and the 33.5 billion cu m/year Trans-Mediterranean pipeline flowing gas via Tunisia to Italy and Slovenia.

Work also is under way on the 8 billion cu m/year Galsi line from Algeria to northern Italy via Sardinia. Snam Rete Gas SPA is constructing that line. Last October, Snam Rete Gas Chief Executive Carlo Malacarne said the Galsi pipeline is expected to be ready in 2012-13.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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