Morocco is forging ahead with plans to import liquefied natural gas via a floating storage and regasification unit after natural gas imports from the Algeria-Spain pipeline ended in the fourth quarter of last year.

The North African nation has invited bids to carry out a study on plans for upgrading Mohammedia port near Casablanca to potentially host its maiden LNG FSRU and related infrastructure.

Morocco’s National Ports Agency (ANP) on Tuesday issued a tender notice inviting bids for this study contract with submissions due before the fast-track deadline of 25 January.

Last March, the Rabat-based government launched a tender for the supply and operation of an FSRU, the bid deadline for which was ultimately extended until late October.

However, to date, no such contract is known to have been awarded.

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One of the bidders in this FSRU supply and operate tender, UK-listed Predator Oil & Gas, earlier said that the initial capacity of the Morocco’s FSRU project was 1.1 billion cubic metres per annum, increasing to 1.7 Bcm at the end of this decade.

Morocco’s annual natural gas demand is set to treble to 3 Bcm by 2040 as the country looks to LNG to boost energy security while also decarbonising, according to Minister of Energy Transition & Sustainable Development, Leila Benali.

Domestic gas production currently accounts for just around 110 million cubic metres of the existing 1 Bcm annual demand, with the remainder historically being met by imports from the Algeria-Spain pipeline that transits Morocco.

Algiers cut ties with Morocco late last August, accusing Rabat of “hostile actions” for backing Berber separatists in northern Algeria, an allegation that Morocco at the time described as “absurd”.