Algeria Oil, Gas & Pipelines
The election of Bouteflika, 77 and recovering from a stroke in 2013, has caused protests throughout the North Africa country and member of OPEC. Many object to a new constitutional amendment that allowed one more presidential term for the leader who has been in office since 1999. Others question his ability to govern, given his history of health problems.
Algeria is a significant natural gas exporter to Europe. According the US Dept. of Energy, "Algeria exported 1.2 Tcf of natural gas via pipelines in 2011, accounting for almost 70 percent of total natural gas exports. Italy was the single largest recipient of Algerian pipeline exports (62 percent), with the remainder of exports to Europe going to Spain (27 percent), Portugal (6 percent), and Slovenia (1 percent). Outside of Europe, Algeria sent small amounts to its neighbors, Tunisia (4 percent) and Morocco (less than 1 percent)."
With the Ukraine crisis over energy threatening European natural gas supplies from Russia, EU energy officials have been looking for other sources of natural gas. However, Algeria's exports have fallen, due in part because of rising domestic demand.
Algeria has also suffered hostile attacks on its distribution system. In January 2013 militants took over a natural gas plant at Amenas, a remote facility in the far eastern desert of Algeria. Government forces regained control in a matter of days, but the attack raised concerns about terrorist intents in the area.
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