Morocco’s options for LNG imports remain under consideration, as the government seeks the best strategy to reduce oil and coal imports. According to Moroccan Energy and Mines Minister Aziz Rabbah, officials have yet to decide whether to issue a tender to build a land-based terminal for gas imports at the western port of Jorf Lasfar, or to deploy a floating facility.
“That is being debated now, whether we should opt for FSRUs instead of an onshore facility,” said Rabbah on October 1, as quoted by Bloomberg. An onshore facility has higher upfront costs, while an FSRU is cheap to bring in but has higher operational and leasing costs.
Morocco’s 2030 energy plan calls for bringing the share of LNG in its energy mix up to 13% by 2025, as well as increasing the use of renewables. The wider US$4.5 billion Jorf Lasfar project includes two new 1,200 MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants, an LNG terminal and onshore regasification unit, as well as pipelines connecting the terminal to the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline. The gas terminal would have a storage capacity of 5 bcm per year of LNG, a marine jetty, regasification plants and high-pressure gas transmission pipes.
The LNG import project has been delayed partly as a result of a gas discovery in the Tendrara region, in eastern Morocco, for which UK-based Sound Energy and partners recently secured a 25-year permit to produce and sell gas. Rabbah said the Tendrara discovery “bodes well for more significant gas finds in Morocco”.
Meanwhile, Morocco will extend a current contract to import gas from Algeria via the GME link and will take full ownership of the gas pipeline, Algerian Minister of Energy Mustapha Guitouni said on October 1. After meeting Rabbah in Marrakech, Guitouni told reporters that further meetings will take place to agree on the terms of the contract, which is due to expire in 2021. “We discussed gas and electricity supply,” he was reported as saying by Reuters.
The 1,300 km pipeline, currently owned by Spain, transports natural gas from the Algerian field of Hassi R’mel to Spain. In 2011, Morocco signed a 10-year contract with Algeria’s Sonatrach to import 640 mcm of gas through the pipeline.