OMAN. MEDGAZ General Manager, Juan Antonio Vera and Deputy General Manager Cherif Bouhank, in a recent interview with The Energy Exchange, provided detailed insight into their future plans for both the company and the countries within which it operates.
MEDGAZ is a consortium of five international companies consisting of SONATRACH, CEPSA, IBERDROLA, ENDESA and GDF SUEZ. Each company has an extensive and successful track record in the gas business and are known for their technical expertise and financial strength.
A significant project completed by the consortium is the MEDGAZ pipeline. This pipeline provides easy exports of Natural Gas (NG) from Algeria to Europe’s number two, LNG importer, Spain.
Juan Antonio Vera, General Manager, MEDGAZ, said: “Spain is currently quite affected by the global economic crisis. Both LNG and Natural Gas (NG) imports are currently being affected downwards with regards to past estimates.”
The economic crisis in Spain caused gas demand to fall by 3.3% in the first half of 2011. In order to avoid having excess supply, Spain re-exports LNG to Asia, as the continent’s demand keeps rising after the March earthquake in Japan.
On being asked if the cross border trade between Algeria and Spain were challenging due to complex regulations and sovereign differences, Cherif Bouhank, Deputy General Manager, MEDGAZ, replied: “Both governments really helped MEDGAZ. All complex and new issues presented around MEDGAZ were always discussed in this clear context with the clear target of achieving the project, making discussions not only interesting, but also very constructive.”
A recent report by the IMF states that the overall unemployment rate in Algeria is 10%, but continues to be much higher for young people at 21% and women at 19%.
Mr. Vera said: “MEDGAZ has made a great effort to promote the local employment both in Spain and Algeria. In Algeria, the total number of people employed during construction surpassed 1,000 people. During the current operational phase, MEDGAZ keeps its main technical installations in Algeria contributing to the industrial development of the Wilaya of Ain-Temouchent, west of Algeria. With direct labour of approximately 80 individuals combined with indirect labour, MEDGAZ generates 200 permanent jobs in the region. More than 90 per cent of the personnel come from Wilaya.”
The relationship between Algeria and Spain with regards to trading LNG and NG are strong. Algeria has been an incredibly reliable supplier and MEDGAZ looks forward to the economic turn in Spain, increasing imports and creating more jobs for each country.
Juan Antonio Vera and Chief Bouhank will participate at the Gas Arabia Summit on Tuesday December 13, 2011 and will explore the topic of ‘Gas and its Potential as an Economic Driver: Projects and Opportunities’.
Organized by The Energy Exchange and sponsored by Oman Gas Company, Oman LNG and Saudi Aramco among others, the Gas Arabia Summit will be held at the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat, Oman from 11 – 14 December 2011 and will explore topics on the entire gas value chain.
For more information, please visit www.theenergyexchange.co.uk/gasarabia