Nigeria-Morocco Sign FEED Gas Pipeline Funding Agreement
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
The design and engineering study of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project has been approved by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and Morocco’s National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) in signed financing agreements.
At the signing of the agreements, which took place via videoconference, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said in an official statement that both Nigeria and Morocco will share equally the cost of the project, which is estimated at $90.1m.
According to Morocco World News, the IDB will allocate $15.5 million to support Morocco’s contribution to the project under “Service Ijara” operation. Ijarah is a concept used in Islamic commerce. It denotes a contract where one party transfers the right to use an item he owns to another party for a specified period in exchange for an agreed consideration. Colloquially, Ijarah is often called ‘Islamic leasing.’
On the other hand, the bank has approved funding in the amount of $29.8 million for the Nigerian share, bringing the Bank’s participation to 50% cost of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline research.
The agreement is set to finance Front-End Engineering Design’s (FEED) research, a key stage in the execution of this strategic initiative backed by King Mohammed VI and the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
The IDB said the study will provide necessary data and assist in making the final investment decision for the infrastructure project of the gas pipeline by 2023.
The pan-Islamic body cited environment and social impact assessment and the acquisition of the land needed to build the onshore and offshore sections of the gas pipeline linking Nigeria and Morocco as the specific objectives of its financing.
The news agency said speakers from the Moroccan government, ONHYM, and IDB expressed the strategic importance of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline, stressing that it will strengthen energy security in the region and contribute to the economic and social development of all the countries the pipeline extends through.
The ceremony recalled that the 44th annual meeting of the IDB in Marrakech on April 5, 2019, which was an opportunity to present the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline as an example of south-south cooperation.
That the project will benefit countries that are members of the IDB, as the bank has accepted the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline eligible for funding.
The project was officially launched in late 2016, but work took longer than expected because of the extensive planning required for a project of this magnitude. In June 2021, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced the Nigerian government has finalized plans to start construction of the project.
This large-scale project will link the gas resources of Nigeria, several West African countries, and Morocco, and thus promote the economic integration of this region of the continent.
It will strengthen energy security in the region and contribute to the economic and social development of all the West African countries the pipeline crosses through.