The Italian-Algerian gas agreement, a gift from heaven to Tunisia

The war in Ukraine has damaged the Tunisian economy. Sky-high wheat prices and burning hydrocarbons mechanically generate a global crisis! In an attempt to get rid of the Russian Federation’s grip on Europe and Italy in particular, where 45% of the natural gas needed to power its power plants comes from the steppes of Siberia (Russia), Italian Prime Minister Mario. Draghi had to travel to Algeria to ask for “gas”. For Rome, all roads now lead to Algiers.

On April 11, 2022, an agreement was signed between the two parties. It strengthens the contract that already exists between Eni and Sonatrach and which allows for exports to Italy until 2027 with a “new” two-year extension option. The Algerian president, Abdelmajid Tebboune and his Italian counterpart, therefore agree to increase the amount of gas in transit on the Enrico Mattei gas pipeline (founder of the oil giant ENI) or Trasmed by 40%, gradually until 2024, and which crosses Tunisian territory for 400 kilometers before crashing into the Mediterranean towards the Italian peninsula.

According to the agreements, Tunisia charges a passenger equivalent to 5.25% of the total transported gas. The sales contracts signed since the implementation of the project in 1983 include compensation in foreign currency or in natural gas to Tunisia. ” These royalties will bring 500 MD to Tunisia in 2022, ”according to Neila Noura Gongi, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, who revealed this in a statement issued to the Assabah newspaper. “They currently cover 65% of the country’s energy needs “.

From Algiers’ point of view, this new agreement is crucial because it allows it to consolidate its position in the region. In one fell swoop, Algerian power strengthened its axis with Italy, gave a gift to its Tunisian neighbors, pushed Makhzen’s hated power up against the wall by interrupting its supplies to the Kingdom of Morocco, and maintained a price increase of “Wrong” Spanish customers. The agreement is also an opportunity for Algiers to attract the Italian giant Eni, on investments in solar energy, in the southern part of the country. And thus Algier no longer hides its ambition to become the first supplier of electrical energy to the European continent, especially with its Mega project “Solar 1000”, which extends over 4200 Hectares and which will generate a total capacity of 1000 MegaWatt .

The agreement of 11. April, signed between the CEO of Eni, Claudio Descalzi and the CEO of Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, allows for an adjustment to international market prices and an increase in the volume of gas to Italy by 40% (9 billion m3). “Several other renewable energy projects are planned in the agreement” indicates a press release from Sonatrach sent to the apartment. Tunisia is of course in no way affected by this sudden rise in prices, the Algerians have maintained the old price, otherwise Steg would have reported it because it would have been an excellent opportunity for a N. rise in prices to be stuck on the back of. the Tunisian consumer.

From Algiers, on April 11, Mario Draghi – or Super Mario as many Italians call him – declared: “ Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine, I announced that Italy would act at the utmost speed to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Our governments have signed a bilateral agreement in the energy sector, in addition there is the agreement between Sonatrach and Eni to increase gas exports to Italy. This agreement will not end in 2024, but the flow will be constant or on a ramp that will continue to grow. Algiers will give us 3 billion m3 of natural gas immediately and 6 more in 2023. The agreement also includes: 3 billion m3 of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) “.

From now on, almost 30 billion m3 of natural gas will travel at a speed greater than Mach 1 towards Italy through Transmed every year. Tunisia’s share in this fine Italian-Algerian operation is 1.5 billion m3. A gift from heaven!

Over the last decade, Tunisia has lost a lot of energy in useless fighting, it has not been able to move on, and the poverty rate shows it perfectly. The country’s policy went after the wind and had to receive foreign aid to redistribute it inefficiently and without any vision to make it bear fruit. Today, Tunisia continues on this path where it is there, waiting for the gifts that have fallen from the sky from time to time.

With the new political agreement in the country, then, is it not time to learn to take advantage of these small opportunities that open up, on this global shift in forces taking place right before our eyes? If the state puts itself in a position to be able to surf on this huge wave that is coming, Tunisia will become a resilient nation where life will be good and in record time. It just needs to know how to catch the wave, just like Algeria does with its gas.

Sofiene Ahres

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