Preparations for the approximately 5,000-kilometer-long Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project have gained a big boost with the addition of four new countries.The project, which is expected to cost around $25 billion, was recently integrated with the West African Gas pipeline, bringing 13 countries on board.
On Friday, the Republic of Benin, Guinea, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast signed memoranda of understanding at the ECOWAS Secretariat. These tripartite MOUs were signed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and Morocco’s Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) on the one hand, and the Société Nationale des Opérations Pétrolières de Cote d’Ivoire (PETROCI), the country’s national oil company, on the other.
These Memorandums of Understanding, like the ones signed with ECOWAS on September 15, 2022, Mauritania and Senegal on October 15, 2022, and The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Ghana on December 5, 2022, confirm the Parties’ commitment to this strategic project. Once finished, the project will improve the monetization of the impacted African countries’ natural gas resources while also providing a new alternative export route to Europe.
The signings took place on the sidelines of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project Steering Committee meeting, which was attended by representatives from ECOWAS and all participating countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco.
This large infrastructure project will help to accelerate access to electricity for all, improve people’s living conditions, integrate the sub-region’s economies, and reduce desertification. It will achieve these objectives by delivering a sustainable and stable gas supply that is consistent with the continent’s new environmental obligations, while also giving Africa a new economic, political, and geopolitical dimension.
Mr. Mele Kyari, GCEO NNPC Ltd, commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Nigerian Government in his remarks for entrusting NNPC Ltd with this vital project as the National Energy Company. “As a commercial enterprise, NNPC Ltd sees this project as an opportunity to monetize Nigeria’s abundant hydrocarbon resources by expanding access to energy to support economic growth, industrialization, and development,” he added.
Amina Benkhadra, the director general of ONHYM, also spoke, saying that the gathering represented a positive step in assuring social and economic development through energy security and accessibility, with the goal of achieving total African development by Africans.
Mr Sédiko Douka, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, and Digitization, stated in his remarks that the gas pipeline project is significant because it will help strengthen the region’s electricity production/generation capacity, stimulate industrial and agricultural development, and contribute to the energy transition by using a cleaner source of energy than other fossil fuels.
The pipeline would connect Nigerian gas to every West African coastline country (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania), terminating in Tangiers, Morocco, and Cádiz, Spain. It appears to be a continuation of the current West African Gas Pipeline, which connects Nigeria to Benin, Togo, and Ghana.
In August 2017, NNPCL and ONHYM initiated a feasibility study for the pipeline, which is expected to cost $25 billion and be constructed in stages over a 25-year period. Morocco is apparently pressuring Nigeria to pursue this pipeline rather than the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline, citing the latter’s need to transit through a region rife with militant activity.