The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline is advancing by leaps and bounds

The project faces its first phase with the participation of Senegal and Mauritania
AFP/PHILIP OJISUA - Fotografía de archivo, el presidente nigeriano, Muhammadu Buhari, estrecha la mano del rey de Marruecos, Mohamed VI
AFP/PHILIP OJISUA - File photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari shakes hands with Morocco's King Mohamed VI
  1. First phase: Senegal and Mauritania
  2. A few kinks to be ironed out
  3. The cornerstone of the Atlantic Initiative

Morocco is moving to improve its infrastructure while building strong relations with neighbouring countries. The gas pipeline linking Morocco and Nigeria is the perfect example of a project that will not only bring great qualitative advances for the Alawi kingdom, but also improve the already very positive ties with countries such as Senegal and Mauritania, the latter with whom relations have improved enormously in recent months.

First phase: Senegal and Mauritania

The Moroccan Parliament has been informed of the progress being made on this project by the Moroccan Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali. She assures that the Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline ‘has reached the stage of determining the optimal route, following the completion of most of the feasibility and engineering design studies’.

Gasoducto - PHOTO/FILE
Gas pipeline - PHOTO/FILE

However, work is ongoing in several sectors of the same process. Assessment and field reports and a study of the environmental and social impacts of the pipeline’ are also being prepared. The objective of the project goes beyond the usefulness of the pipeline itself, the minister explained that they want to turn this project into an opportunity for economic growth for all the countries involved.

As it is a complex infrastructure, it requires a significant volume of studies and reports, which, according to the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Minerals, are being prepared in a way that is both effective and positive. Thanks to these, they hope to ‘mitigate the environmental and social impact, and may lead to a slight modification of the pipeline route’

A few kinks to be ironed out

While the construction of the pipeline is progressing well, there are still some details of the project that have not been finalised. The National Office of Hydrocarbons and Minerals itself has stated that ‘negotiations to conclude the governmental agreement with all transit countries are progressing positively’. There are many states that will benefit from this initiative, which increases its complexity, but of course also its value.

It also remains to secure all the necessary funding for a project of this scale. The president of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, said two months ago that the idea is that by December of this year the total financing necessary to complete the pipeline will be in place, which is also one of the key pillars of Morocco's Atlantic Initiative, promoted by King Mohammed VI.

Mohamed VI, rey de Marruecos - PHOTO/OFICIAL
Mohamed VI, King of Morocco - PHOTO/OFFICIAL

The cornerstone of the Atlantic Initiative

This is Mohammed VI's most ambitious project. He wants to expand Morocco's regional leadership with an idea that will reshape the geostrategic scenario in Africa. It would provide an exit from the Atlantic Ocean for the Sahel countries, which have shown their intention to collaborate with Rabat to realise this idea. These include Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mali, which see the great economic benefits that the Atlantic Initiative could bring.

This macro-project is closely linked to the gas pipeline that will cross 13 countries (Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco). But the Atlantic Initiative is also the focus of attention of countries outside the African continent, from the United States to Spain, which is looking favourably on the progress made by Morocco, a close partner for both.