Natural gas could fuel Morocco growth
By Hassan Benmehdi for Magharebia in Casablanca – 09/04/12
In Morocco, as elsewhere, there is great economic potential for natural gas as an energy source as the price of oil keeps rising.
Delegates at an international conference on natural gas held March 29th in Casablanca called for a proper gas strategy to be developed in order to shore up Morocco's energy supply.
During the meeting, experts took the opportunity to point out to the government the urgent need to create an attractive, consistent and clear legal framework to give companies and investors the visibility they need and protect consumers' interests.
In a statement to Magharebia, Moroccan Energy Federation President Abdellah Alaoui underlined that the country needs to diversify its energy supply.
"Promoting natural gas will make Moroccan companies considerably more competitive," he commented, adding that this is a vital sector for the creation of jobs for young people and that a legal framework and a national gas strategy needs to be devised.
"We will increase the use of natural gas by creating a legislative and institutional framework which makes provision for a power and gas regulatory body to be created," said Energy Minister Fouad Douiri.
He argued that this legal framework could have a positive impact on Morocco's energy costs, make Moroccan companies more competitive and create jobs.
International experience in the use of natural gas was also shared at the conference.
Jacques Percebois, head of the Centre for Research in Economics and Energy Law, believes that Morocco can rely on natural gas because of its affordable price, its abundance and its cleanliness.
Population trends in Morocco mean that the country's energy requirements will rise by 6% per year between now and 2050.
To diversify the country's energy supply, the government plans to have a gas terminal built in order to import liquefied natural gas, probably in the Jorf Lasfar area.
Analysts estimate that the country's requirements could then be met by importing natural gas via the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline and converting imported liquid gas.
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