Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project takes off

A gas pipeline at the Afam VI power plant in Port Harcourt, 29 September 2015   -  
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A memorandum of understanding on a gas pipeline project linking Nigeria to Morocco, which will also supply West Africa and Europe, was signed on Thursday in Rabat, an official source said.

The memorandum on the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project (NMGP) was initialled by the leaders of the National Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), the Moroccan Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and a senior official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in charge of energy, according to a joint statement.

The text signed "confirms the commitment of ECOWAS and all the countries involved to contribute to the feasibility of this important project", the statement said.

The project, for which no timetable has been set, is being carried out in a geopolitical context marked by strong international demand for gas and oil and a surge in prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Several countries, particularly in Europe, are seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian supplies.

The 6,000 km Nigeria-Morocco project will cross 13 African countries along the Atlantic coast and supply the landlocked states of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, according to the statement.

It is expected to bring more than 5,000 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Morocco.

From there, it will be connected directly to the Maghreb Europe Gas Pipeline (GME) and the European gas network.

The signing of the NMGP memorandum announced at the end of 2016, comes against the backdrop of heightened regional rivalry between Morocco and Algeria, Africa's largest exporter of natural gas and the world's 7th largest.

The crisis between the two Maghreb heavyweights culminated in the rupture of their diplomatic relations in August 2021 at the initiative of Algiers.

Following this rupture, Algeria deprived Rabat of its gas by closing in October the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME) carrying Algerian gas to Spain and transiting through Morocco.

Since then, Rabat has been seeking to diversify its gas supply.

At the end of July, the Algerian, Nigerian and Nigerian energy ministers signed a memorandum of understanding to materialise a competing mega-project for a trans-Saharan gas pipeline (TSGP), more than 4,000 km long, in order to transport Nigerian gas to Europe via Niger and Algeria.

No date has been given for the completion of the Trans-Saharan.

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