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Morocco Explores Floating LNG Terminal at Nador West Med Port

Morocco plans to issue a tender this summer for the development of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the Nador West Med port in the northeast, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Energy.

Abdelghafour El Hadjaoui, who oversees oil and gas within the ministry, shared the details during a presentation that was reported by Reuters.

The goal is for the project to reach financial completion by 2025, launching construction, commissioning, and commercial operations by 2026.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) involves cooling natural gas to a liquid form to facilitate more efficient and economical transport.

The proposed terminal is expected to be linked to an existing pipeline, enabling the importation of 0.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG annually from Spain. This volume is sufficient to supply two smaller electricity production facilities.

Furthermore, Morocco’s energy strategy includes initiatives to connect this pipeline to developing gas fields in the eastern and western parts of the nation.

Projections from the Ministry of Energy indicate a significant rise in domestic natural gas demand, from the current level of 1 bcm to an anticipated 8 bcm by 2027.

The Nador West Med port, currently under construction, is a deepwater facility expected to handle 3.5 million containers. This development is a crucial part of Morocco’s efforts to enhance its LNG infrastructure.

In March, five Moroccan government entities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Rabat to support the nation’s LNG infrastructure development.

This agreement, under the Sustainable Gas Infrastructure Development Program, sets forth plans to improve LNG facilities and expand natural gas storage and transportation infrastructure.

Immediate objectives of the program include facilitating pipelines that connect domestic gas production with consumers, establishing the LNG terminal at Nador West Med, and constructing a new pipeline to connect the terminal with the existing Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline.

The MoU received support from the Ministries of Interior, Economy and Finance, Equipment and Water, and Energy Transition and Sustainable Development.

Involved public agencies include the National Ports Agency (ANP), the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE), the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), Nador West Med (NWM), and the National Motorway Company of Morocco (ADM).

This initiative aims to accelerate renewable energy projects, promote the green hydrogen sector in Morocco, and support the Atlantic-Africa Gas Pipeline Project.

Despite the substantial costs linked to LNG infrastructure development, Morocco joined the LNG market in February 2022. Energy Minister Leila Benali has highlighted the value of this investment.

Currently, Morocco relies on Spain for regasifying its LNG, which is then transported back to Morocco via the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline. This arrangement has enabled Morocco to reactivate two major electricity-generating plants in Tahaddart and Ain Beni Mathar.

While LNG has been crucial for Morocco’s energy security, the associated high costs of gas, alongside significant subsidies for gas and electricity, present ongoing challenges.

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