Morocco, which imports most of its energy needs, is planning to build a $4.6 billion natural gas plant, part of its strategy to enhance its energy mix and autonomy.
This project has been announced by the Moroccan Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah in Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of his participation in the 8th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) held in Abu Dhabi Jan.12-14 and that was devoted to discussing opportunities and challenges in the renewable energy sector.
The Moroccan official said that an international tender will be launched soon for this integrated project that will process gas for power and provide gas to industry. The financial and technical consultants had already been chosen, he said.
The North African country seeks to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels, with plans to generate over 50 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030.
Morocco has set out a gas strategy to boost its energy security. Along with investing in shale oil and renewable energies, liquefied gas is at the heart of the country’s energy policy, aimed at cutting dependence on Algerian gas.
The Moroccan LNG National Development Plan, approved in late 2014, includes LNG onshore terminal in Jorf Lasfar near El Jadida to be completed for a total cost of $4 billion.
The terminal will have a storage capacity of 5 billion cubic meters of LNG per year, a fitted marine jetty, regasification plants and new high-pressure gas transmission pipes.
Last December, the Government elaborated a draft bill to back up liquefied natural gas projects, as the north African Kingdom aims to bring the share of LNG to 13% of its energy mix by 2025.
The draft bill sets the guidelines for establishing a tariff system for a natural gas market that is still in its early stages in North Africa’s largest oil and gas importer. The draft also aims at encouraging foreign investors to set up LNG infrastructures, notably in terms of transmission and distribution networks.
Recently, Sound Energy made several gas discoveries in Eastern Morocco, which leave investors upbeat. The company said that the country will become a key player in the global gas map by 2019.
The United States has shown interest in supplying the North African Kingdom with natural gas under the FTA accord signed by the two countries.
The Russians also are interested in Morocco’s gas projects, particularly the LG terminal in Jorf Lasfar and the Moroccan-Nigerian gas pipeline. Qatar is also expected to step in.