The most recent development in Morocco’s energy sector is an LNG project near Casablanca.
The National Office for Electricity and Water (ONEE) launched a tender for the $4.5 billion LNG import terminal project on October 1, according to Minister of Energy Aziz Rebbah.
The project, according to an analyst firm Fitch Solutions, will be set in the Jorf Lafsar port in El Jadida province, near Casablanca, and will supply the industries based in the region.
The jetty, regasification terminal, and 400-kilometer pipeline are expected to be complete by 2025.
Morocco intends to use the facility to import up to 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the context of the national gas-to-power initiative.
The main goal of the port will be to sustain the rapid growth of electricity use and demand in Morocco. According to Fitch Solutions’ estimations, the annual growth in electricity generation will be 5.5 percent over 2017-2027.
Morocco also aims to use cleaner energy with natural gas. Coal generate 58 percent Of Morocco’s total electricity and oil generates 5.5 percent.
In parallel to the import facility, the gas-to-power plan involves the construction of two power plants in Jorf Lafsar and two others in the coastal city of Kenitra, near Rabat, with a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts.
Morocco is aiming to switching to a cleaner power mix and to significantly increase its renewable energy use. The country intends to make renewables a 52 percent share of power supply by 2030 and gas a 23 percent share.
New source of natural gas
The gas-to-power plan will not only allow Morocco to efficiently adapt to the increasing needs of its population and growing economy, but it will also allow it to decrease the costs of power. It will also reduce Morocco’s dependence on Algerian oil.
Morocco remains the largest importer of oil in North Africa and is bounded by a 10-year contract with Sonatrach in Algeria. The contract is soon to be renewed following a joint declaration on October 2 about talks on the deal.
Morocco has decreased its imports of Algerian oil over recent years. Morocco anticipates being more energy independent, especially after the UK exploration company Sound Energy discovered natural gas in Tendrara, eastern Morocco.
The discovery, according to Sound Energy, contains up to 31 trillion cubic feet of gas. When production begins, it could turn the country into a net gas exporter.
The UK company expects that production will begin in 2020 at an average production rate of 60 million cubic feet per day over a 10 year period. There is also a plan to construct a pipeline connecting the Tendrara field and the Gas-Maghreb-Europe pipeline from northern Morocco to Spain.
The discovery of natural gas in Morocco and the gas-to-power projects could bring more stability to Morocco as Algerian oil exports have recently deteriorated and are uncertain. Morocco also now has more leverage in negotiating the Sonatrach deal.