Minister Confirms Russia’s Interest in the Nigeria – Morocco Pipeline Project

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Nigeria has confirmed that Russia is among the investors seeking to be part of the gigantic Nigeria – Morocco Gas Pipeline project. A report by The NewArab quoted Nigeria’s minister of state, petroleum resources, Timipre Sylvia assuring that the country has not admitted any investor into the project.

The Nigeria – Morocco Pipeline project aims at carrying Nigeria’s gas to North Africa and onto European markets. Last weekend, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for Development announced a contribution $14.3 million for the Phase II of the feasibility study for the pipeline project estimated at $25 billion.

A report stated that Africa’s gas supplies are increasingly in the spotlight as the European Union looks to wean itself off Russia’s production after the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Four years ago, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari agreed on the mega-project to carry gas along the Atlantic Coast in a deal that was first signed in 2016.

The agreement between the two heads of government was followed up in December 2016 with an agreement between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Moroccan Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (National Board of Hydrocarbons and Mines) (ONHYM).

Experts believe that it may be an extension of the existing West African Gas Pipeline, which already connects Nigeria with Benin, Togo, and Ghana.

The Nigeria/Morocco Gas Pipeline is connecting Nigerian gas from the Niger Delta region of the country to every coastal country in West Africa (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania), ending at Tangiers, Morocco, and finally in Cádiz, Spain.

Sylva confirmed as much on Monday in Abuja when he said the pipeline would be an extension of a structure that has been pumping gas from southern Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana since 2010.

“We want to continue that same pipeline all the way to Morocco down the coast. Right now, we are still at the level of studies, and of course, we are at the level of securing the funding for this project,” the news agency quoted the minister

He said investors, including Russians, are showing interest in the project. “A lot of people are indicating interest. The Russians were with me in the office last week, they are very desirous to invest in this project and there are lot of other people who are also desirous to invest in the project,” the minister reportedly said.

He however said that Nigeria has not committed itself to any agreement with any country or investor.

“There is a lot of international interest, investors’ interest, in the project, but we have not really identified investors that we want to go with.”

Plans for a pipeline to take Nigeria’s gas resources to North Africa have long been discussed and Algeria has also held talks with Nigeria as far back as 2002 for a similar pipeline crossing the Sahel region, the agency said.

Fellow OPEC member Algeria, Africa’s largest gas exporter, said recently it was ready to supply Europe with more gas.

Meanwhile, Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom has announced it has stopped all gas supplies to Poland and highly dependent Bulgaria, raising the spectre of a shortage in the region – and Europe as a whole.

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