During a telephone conversation on Sunday, January 31st, between King Mohammed VI of Morocco and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project and a fertilizer project in Nigeria, in partnership with the Office Chérifien des Phosphates, were discussed.
The pipeline project, 7,500 km long at an estimated cost of $20 billion, was discussed in 2016 during the visit of King Mohammed VI to Nigeria and in 2018 during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Morocco. The pipeline aims to supply West Africa, Morocco and European markets. The English engineering office, Penspen, is working on the technical aspects of the project.
However, it must be said that this project, which will cross several ECOWAS countries, is in competition with the TSGP (Trans-Saharian Gas Pipeline), an 80s gas pipeline program between Nigeria and Algeria. Reactivated for a time by NEPAD (an organization that collects white elephants), the Trans-Saharian was reactivated by Algiers in 2018 following the Moroccan announcement. Thus, in October 2018, a meeting chaired by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries had discussed the project, without follow-up.
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For its part, ECOWAS seems to have made its choice between the two rival projects
Thus, on December 10th, 2020 in Ouagadougou, on the sidelines of the meeting of energy sector stakeholders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), strong directives were issued for the continuation of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project with a view to the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable the detailed study of a single gas pipeline project in West Africa. According to the recommendations of ECOWAS stakeholders, the studies to be conducted with the promoters of the NMGP should include Phase 1 of the West African Gas Pipeline Network Extension Project (WAGPEP) whose preparation had been initiated by ECOWAS.
“From the presentation of the WAGPEP project made by the ECOWAS Commission and that of the NMGP project made virtually by the National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria (NNPC) and the Office National des Hydrocarbures du Maroc (ONHYM), it appears that the two initiatives have more or less the same route and are at the same stage of progress. Moreover, the conclusions of the two studies have shown that these projects contribute to similar objectives including the development of gas resources in the region and the supply of clean energy to countries including ECOWAS Member States,” the communiqué reads .
These latest developments of the Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline project are to be brought closer to the strategic interests of the various stakeholders and, in particular, the European Union which, via Spain, receives from Algiers some 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Nigeria produces on average 38 billion cubic meters per year, i.e. 60% of Algerian production. This project comes at a time when major discoveries off the coasts of Senegal and Mauritania are due to come on stream in 2022.
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First published in Financial Afrik, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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