Mansur Muhtar, representative of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), accompanied by the vice-president of this entity, and Nadia Fettah, representing the Moroccan government and Minister of Economy and Finance, accompanied by Amina Benkadra, Director General of the Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), held a virtual meeting in which agreements were signed to finance the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study that will allow the gas pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco to finally become a reality. This new agreement marks a major step towards the construction of this pipeline and reaffirms the good relationship that exists between the two nations.
The new study to be financed aims to analyse the conditions required for the creation of this gas line, and if it is finally viable, a final decision will be taken on whether or not it will be carried out. According to the governments of the two countries, they will share equally in the cost of the project, which is estimated to cost around 90.1 million dollars. For its part, the IDB will contribute $15.45 million to each government under Operation Ijara Facility. For Nigeria's share, IsDB Bank has approved its financing and will contribute $29.75 million to the cause, which represents a contribution of 50% of the Nigerian expenditure on the engineering studies and design of the infrastructure.
The construction of the pipeline is intended to supply gas to 15 West African countries, in addition to reducing gas flaring in Nigeria, which aims to diversify the nation's energy resources. It is also expected to optimise the cost of transporting gas, which is currently carried out through the transformation of this resource into liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The new meeting marks a giant step towards the construction of the pipeline, which is getting closer, and was a project once sponsored by Morocco's King Mohammed VI and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari. It was confirmed this summer that the two countries were already in negotiations when Yusuf Osman, general director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, revealed the news to the media. Although the announcement of its creation was made in 2016, when the feasibility study to build this canal was completed.
Both the King of Morocco and the President of Nigeria have reiterated numerous times the commitment and cooperation of the two countries in this type of project. According to an official statement from the Moroccan Royal Court: " The two Heads of State congratulated each other on the positive progress in bilateral relations in all fields ", which affirms the good connection between the two territories.
At the time of the announcement, Buhari thanked Morocco for its support in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, thanks to the creation of organizations such as the Mohammed VI Institute of Nigeria, which is responsible for eradicating these problems.
Morocco continues to consolidate its expansion on the African continent through various projects. With this pipeline, it intends to demonstrate its influence and encourage cooperation with various countries to promote the continent's development in terms of energy and economy.
In addition to this fact, the confirmation of several underground basins that allow the accumulation of gas under the Alawi country's soil would make Morocco one of the nations with the greatest natural wealth of this resource and, therefore, one of the biggest exporters of this product to other countries. And it is not the only pipeline that the Kingdom is creating, as it has been looking for a company for quite some time, and everything points to the fact that China may be involved in this, as the Moroccan authorities are in negotiations with China Communicatios Constructions Co (CCCC), which may be the one selected for this job.
All these pipelines will allow Morocco to have its own supply of this resource, so it could forget its neighbour Algeria, since relations have cooled in recent times and the Algerian nation has decided to close several channels that supplied the Kingdom since last October.