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Algerian gas exports to Italy through the Transmed pipeline more than tripled month-on-month in April, to a daily average of 2.24bn cfd, their highest monthly level since 2012. On an annualized basis this equates to 23 bcm/year, around a quarter of Algeria’s gas output and half of its exports.
Flows eased slightly to 2.05mn cfd in May, but this is still way above average levels seen over the past four years. However, such flows will not be sustained.
Recent flow patterns through the 33.5 bcm/year-capacity Transmed are symptomatic of the changing commercial relationship between Algeria’s Sonatrach and Eni, the main offtaker. Having varied little from an average of around 2bn cfd or 20 bcm/year between 2008 and 2012, they have been highly erratic, and – with the exception of the last two months – have averaged much lower levels than those seen in earlier years. These changes have come with increased market liberalization leading to more competition with other suppliers and key buyers Eni and compatriot generation firm Enel vary purchases on a month-by-month basis depending on price and portfolio optimization.
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