Relations between Madrid and Algiers have hit a rocky patch as two of Spain’s biggest natural gas suppliers are dismissed from a multi-billion euro contract. The deal signed back in 2004 with Algerian state owned Sonatrach was to develop the reserves from the Gassi Touil gas fields. But the Spanish companies have been sacked.
Spain’s Industry Minister, Joan Clos said: “Let’s see if it will be possible to find a solution, if not, let’s hope that there’ll be a fair solution coming out of arbitration.”
The original budget presented by Spain’s Repsol and Gas Natural was considered excessively tight by analysts who say it fell apart as cost inflation hit the oil industry. Sonatrach blame the Spanish groups for delays and spiralling costs in the construction of the gas terminal which had been due to begin shipping liquefied natural gas in 2009. The move which follows months of political wrangling means the north African country will regain control over the project.