Morocco unveils an ambitious agenda for 2019 in the energy sector

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By Thomas Hedley, Senegal Field Editor

Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development Aziz Rabbah has outlined Morocco’s key projects for the year, ranging from power to energy efficiency and major midstream and downstream initiatives.

Power

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Minister Rabbah said power networks and sustainable development would be key focus areas in 2019 and would include several network interconnection projects, studies to connect the grid to Europe and a third interconnection to Portugal.

With a goal to create a regional electricity market, the country is also in talks to connect its grid to sub-Saharan Africa through Mauritania. Morocco also plans to move forward with partial electricity auto production and studies will be launched in the next few months see if it is feasible to auto produce 20 to 30 percent of total national output by 2030.

In moving towards green and efficient energy, the ministry will design roadmaps to improve the sustainability of transport and buildings, including ministerial buildings. Strategic committees will be put in place to overlook energy efficiency in transport, industry, agriculture and public lighting. To support these challenges, an €80 million (approximately $92 million) agreement was signed between Morocco and Germany last October.

Finally, the long-awaited national authority of electricity regulation will become operational in the first quarter of 2019, in a bid to reassure private investors that the country’s electricity market is stable.

Oil and gas

In 2016, Nigeria and Morocco signed a partnership agreement for the construction of a gas pipeline. According to Minister Rabbah, the project is on track and the works continue with strong support from countries involved, including Mauritania and Senegal, who have shown increased interest due to gas productions to come in the next three years. The construction of the project is said to span over 25 years.

The liquid natural gas terminal at Jorf Lasfar deep-water commercial port will reach tender phase this year, after several delays due to the technical difficulties of the project. Eighty companies have confirmed their interest in the project, which will require a $ 4,5 billion investment. The Minister has admitted the project will not be finalized in 2021 as planned and a deadline for first productions has not been set.