Libya Plots To Outsmart Algeria In The Proposed Nigeria-Europe Gas Pipeline
Libya is getting set to outwit Algeria in the proposed Nigeria/Niger/Algeria gas pipeline to Europe. Libyan officials have confirmed that they have opened discussions with Nigeria petroleum ministry officials on the new proposal.
Last July in Algiers, following months of negotiations, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding formalising the 4,000km Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) project, which will enable Nigerian gas to be piped into Europe.
The agreement marked the commitment of the three parties to revive a project of regional and international scope that would primarily boost the social and economic development of the three countries.
At a Tripoli press conference last weekend, Libya’s oil and gas minister, Mohamed Aoun, said his ministry has presented a study to the Libyan government for the same proposed Nigeria gas pipeline to Europe.
He said the new thinking is that the pipeline should run through Libya instead of Algeria. Speaking on the margins of the press conference, minister Aoun’s advisor, Ahmed Elghaber, told Libya Herald that the potential Nigeria-Libya gas pipeline would add to the possible African gas supply network.
According to him, Libya and Nigeria have discussed the idea at APPO meeting. He explained that, in their mutual interest, as major oil and gas producing countries in Africa, Libya and Nigeria’s ministers of oil and gas compared preliminary notes on the matter in a recent oil ministerial meeting of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO).
Elghaber stated further that Libya and Nigeria explored possible plans to extend a desert-crossing pipeline from Nigeria to Europe crossing Libya and Niger.
The Libyan Herald reported that consequently, Libya’s cabinet authorized the oil and gas ministry to conduct a grass-root study of such a potential pipeline in coordination with Nigeria.
However, Libya’s political stability is a prime factor in deciding the fate of this optional pipeline, Elghaber stressed.
Events in Europe in the last 6 months have made gas-pipeline-to-Europe projects to be very lucrative. On the back of the Ukraine war, any additional gas to European markets in the current gas supply market would be highly appreciated.
Hence, if this pipeline is realized, it would be highly valued by the world’s gas supply market, the minister’s aide added.
Elghaber disclosed that there are two options available to deliver Nigerian gas to Europe. The first route is through Algeria, and this is a very likely route as the pipeline proposal is in a very advanced stage, he noted.
The other option is through series of Western African countries following the western African coast and reaching Spain through Morocco. This option seems to have passed the feasibility stage and has possibly become a viable project.