Spanish and Algerian gas firms agree to ‘revise’ prices

Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach has agreed with Spanish buyer Naturgy to revise prices on gas deliveries through a key undersea pipeline, as Europe gears up for a winter energy crunch.

Naturgy is Spain’s top buyer of Algerian gas, which represents over a fifth of the firm’s total gas purchases.(Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

“Sonatrach and its partner Naturgy have agreed to revise the prices of the existing long-term gas supply contracts taking into account market developments,” the Algerian firm said in a statement.

It did not say which way they would be revised, but natural gas prices have more than doubled in Europe since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, as Russia cuts back supplies in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions.

Algeria, Africa’s top natural gas exporter, has signed a flurry of deals with southern European governments and energy firms seeking to offset the fallout, delivering a cash windfall for Algeria.

But experts have cast doubt over its ability to boost production in the short term.

The Spanish government in July urged energy firms to reduce their imports of gas from Russia.

But ties between Madrid and Algiers have been cold since the government of Pedro Sanchez in March dropped decades of neutrality on the Western Sahara conflict, backing an autonomy plan drafted by Algeria’s arch-rival Morocco.

Algeria in June suspended its 2002 friendship treaty with Spain, but has said gas deliveries will continue.

Sonatrach supplied more than 40 percent of Spain’s natural gas imports in 2021 through the deep-sea Medgaz pipeline.

Naturgy is Spain’s top buyer of Algerian gas, which represents over a fifth of the firm’s total gas purchases.

Spanish gas regulator Enagas says Algeria was the country’s second gas supplier (24 percent) in August, behind the United States (26.5 percent).

But Algeria’s share has dropped in recent months as Spain has increased its imports from other sources.

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REVEALED: Where are Spain’s poorest neighbourhoods?

Data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) has revealed the two poorest neighbourhoods in Spain, where inhabitants earn the lowest amount of income in the country.

REVEALED: Where are Spain's poorest neighbourhoods?

The report showed that the four poorest neighbourhoods in Spain can all be found in the cities of Seville and Alicante.

The barrios (neighbourhoods) are Polígono Sur and Los Pajaritos y Amate in Seville and Juan XXIII in Alicante.  

Those in Seville’s Polígono Sur earned the least amount with an average of just €5,666 per year. In fact, other areas in both Seville and Alicante appeared again on the list of the ten next poorest neighborhoods in the country with those in Seville being listed six times out of the top 15. 

All but four of the poorest ones were located in Andalusia, with the others are found in Alicante, Madrid and Murcia. 

This is the complete list of the 15 neighbourhoods with the lowest income per capita in Spain, according to the latest available data, collected in 2019:

  • Polígono Sur (Seville) – €5,666 
  • Los Pajaritos y Amate (Sevilla) – €6,042
  • Juan XXIII (Alicante) – €6,272
  • Torreblanca (Seville) – €6,801
  • San Cristóbal (Madrid) – €6,955
  • Azahara-Palmeras (Córdoba) – €7,361 
  • Polígono del Guadalquivir (Córdoba) – €7,380
  • Alicante Distrito 5A (Alicante) – €7,425
  • Palma-Palmilla (Málaga) – €7,683
  • Palmete-Padre Pío (Seville) – €7,724
  • Sector Sur (Córdoba) – €8,100
  • Olivia-Letanías (Seville) – €8.111
  • Norte-Bazorla-Villegas (Seville) – €8,112
  • Murcia Distrito 8 (Murcia) – €8,385
  • Moreras-Huerta de la Reina (Córdoba) – €8,556

Sevillian towns such as Los Palacios – Villafranca and Lebrija and Alicante towns such as Torrevieja and Crevillente were also included in the top 20 poorest places with over 20,000 inhabitants. 

Interestingly, both provinces are among those that received the least investment in infrastructure from the General State Budget (PGE) between 1985 and 2018, according to a list of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), which takes into account the number of inhabitants for its calculation.

This may be about to change in Seville capital, however, which has received investments for the SE-40 ring road, the Centennial bridge and metro line 3 as part of the 2023 State Budget.

No extra investments have been given out to Alicante though, which “has one of the lowest per capita incomes in Spain, occupying position 44 out of 52,” the document stated. In terms of investment, the Alicante province receives less than de €85.40 per inhabitant. 

“This investment places us in the last place of investments per inhabitant, far from the penultimate province, which is Jaén with €110 per inhabitant,” residents of Alicante complained.  

The correlation between low investment and poor towns also occurs in Andalusian provinces such as Cádiz and Huelva, which are also among those that have received the least investment in infrastructure from the PGE between 1985 and 2018, according to AIReF. 

Towns in Cádiz and Huelva are also among the INE’s list of places with the poorest neighbourhoods, in addition to Almería, which received a mediocre amount of investment.