Several African states are giving a new boost to the offshore gas pipeline project dossier that plans to connect Nigeria to Morocco by 7000km of pipelines through more than a dozen countries.
In a statement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), which also manages the country's gas resources, announced the forthcoming signing of a series of memoranda with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Mauritanian Hydrocarbons Company (SMH), the Petroleum Company of Senegal (PETROSEN) and the Moroccan National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM).
According to the NNPC communication, the signing of these agreements will take place in Rabat tomorrow, 15 September, in the presence of representatives from each country. The announcement came after a meeting in Abuja between the president of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, and the president of the ECOWAS Commission, the Gambian Omar Touray.
The communiqué issued by the Nigerian entity recalls the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria and ECOWAS to see the Atlantic gas pipeline project prosper, aimed at transporting 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day, distributed among 13 countries and with the possibility of also reaching Europe through the Moroccan connections of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The signing of the Senegalese and Mauritanian companies confirms the support of the two countries for the continent's most ambitious energy distribution project. Analysts and the project's promoters expect the countries through which the Atlantic gas pipeline passes to benefit directly and indirectly from this infrastructure, which would supply energy to 340 million people.
It is estimated that this gigantic project will require USD 25 billion in financing and around 25 years of work to become operational. Two energy engineering firms were selected in early 2022 to carry out the design and financing plans: IFL Group and DORIS Engineering.
NMGP: @MKKyari Visits ECOWAS Commission
In line with Federal Govt’s mandate to drive the execution of the 7000km Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) Project, GCEO @nnpclimited @MKKyari today paid a courtesy call on the President @ecowas_cedeao Commission, H.E Dr Omar A. Touray. pic.twitter.com/91Z7gn2Fu6— NNPC Limited (@nnpclimited) September 13, 2022
The project, which began to take shape in 2016, is still at a very early stage where agreements between stakeholders are still being finalised, but both Nigeria and Morocco are moving their chips in African diplomacy to see the Atlantic project flourish against other initiatives such as the Algerian-driven trans-Saharan pipeline through Niger.
The director general of Morocco's ONHYM, Amina Benkhadra, visited the Senegalese capital of Dakar last week to participate in a round of contacts with her counterparts and to address a symposium on the pipeline. In his speech, Benkhadra said that the implementation of this infrastructure would create a "competitive regional electricity market, to exploit clean energy and contribute to the industrial and economic development of all the countries it passes through".
Nigeria already has a network of offshore pipelines connecting its coastline with neighbouring power plants in Benin, Togo and Ghana. The project plans to build on existing infrastructure to reach Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania and finally Morocco at Tangier.