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9 February 2009 – Algeria is to increase its gas sales to Europe this year by expanding the capacity of two pipelines linking the North African country to the gas hungry market, the state energy group Sonatrach has said.

This rise will be in addition to a planned increase of 8 billion cubic metres, the capacity of the new Medgaz pipeline, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Algeria pumps gas to Spain and Italy through two existing pipelines under the Mediterranean, the capacity of which will increase by 7.7 billion cubic metres in 2009.

The two pipelines currently export 63 billion cubic metres per year and supply about 20 percent of Europe’s gas imports.

Sonatrach has a 36 percent stake in the undersea Medgaz pipeline linking Algeria to Spain, Spanish energy company Cepsa has 20 percent, Spanish utilities Iberdrola and Endesa 20 percent and 12 percent, and Gaz de France 12 percent.