EU-Algeria : Reinforcing our energy partnership

Maghreb Emergent  published on 6 January 2016 an article on the Algerian-EU relationship notably those regarding gas supplies.  Here it is reproduced below.

Miguel Arias Cañete, the European climate action and energy Commissioner reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Algeria in the field of energy, calling this ‘priority’ cooperation Brussels energy strategy adopted by the beginning of 2015.

“I am personally committed to stepping up our relations with Algeria, particularly as regards energy. This is a priority as mentioned in the Energy union Strategy.

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That is why I went to Algiers in May and met with Minister of Energy Yousfi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lamamra to launch the Algeria-EU ‘Political dialogue on energy’.” Mr Canete said before adding :

“We agreed that this would focus on two areas, namely gas and renewable energy/energy efficiency. In addition, implementing initiatives will be developed in the coming months.”

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In a contribution published Monday by the ‘The Parliament‘ magazine, the European Commissioner for energy said energy cooperation at the bilateral level remains “crucial” in particular with Algeria, largest country in Africa and partner of “vital importance” for the EU.  Mr Cañete recalled that Algeria is the third supplier of gas to the EU after Russia and Norway and the EU is the biggest importer of Algerian gas, asserting that “Algeria has always been a very reliable gas supplier for the EU “.

Gas in Algeria, including shale gas resources, are huge, he noted, and there is a “real need” for investments in new exploration and production of gas projects.

The EU supports Algiers in its green energy projects

“This is the reason why we decided to work together to identify the factors that hinder investment and propose investment incentives”, he said.

The European Commissioner for energy mentioned the availability of the EU to “support the Algeria” in the implementation of its national strategy for renewable energy and energy efficiency, stressing that the European Commission which aims to make Europe the global leader in renewable energy, plans to work with its Algerian partners to identify needs and possible cooperation projects.

According to Cañete, Algeria has enormous potential in the field of renewable energy with ambitious plans to expand.

The Algerian authorities had sought the support of the EU to develop renewable energies, particularly with regards to strengthening of all institutional capacities, improvement and implementation of the legislative and regulatory framework, vocational training, research and development and technology transfer.

Referring to the roadmap of the next steps in the implementation of the partnership between Algeria and the EU in the field of energy, Mr Cañete has indicated that two expert groups will be established in the coming weeks and a “Business Forum” will be held in Algiers in 2016.

Reducing dependence on Russian gas

“This Forum will meet Algerian officials with representatives of the industry of renewable energy and gas in Europe, to discuss ways and means to facilitate European investment in the energy sector in Algeria”, he said.

In recalling the security of energy supply as a major dimension of the project of the Union of energy, Mr Cañete stressed the importance to establish strategic and diversified partnerships with the countries of the region.

He said that the EU has identified three priorities to increase its energy security and reduce its dependence on a single supplier that is Russia; the development of the southern corridor for gas, the development of the market of LNG in Europe and the creation of a gas hub in the Mediterranean.

“The EU clearly recognizes the importance of the Mediterranean region and its role in the Union’s Energy strategy, both regional and bilateral”, he said.

Meanwhile, he mentioned that regionally, the three Euro-Mediterranean platforms on natural gas, officially launched in Brussels in June 2015, on the integration of electricity systems, set up in Rabat in October 2015, and on renewable energy and energy efficiency that will be launched in the year 2016.

Calling these platforms “effective instruments”, Mr Cañete has emphasised on the one on gas, which, according to him, will bring benefits to all partners of the Union for the Mediterranean (UpM), be they producers, importers or exporters of gas.

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