Nigerian state oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has received a green light from the Nigerian government to go forward with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a 5660-km gas pipeline via Morocco to Europe.
The nod comes as African gas supplies to Europe grow in importance with the Ukraine crisis already reducing the volume of Russian energy exports by some 25 percent. Algeria has already agreed to raise its supply to Italy.
Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister Timipre Sylva told reporters in Abuja late Wednesday that "this gas line will take gas to 15 West African countries and to Morocco and through Morocco, to Spain and to Europe”. Construction will take place in phases and last 25 years.
He added the project was in a design phase and details including cost and funding were still being worked out. “It is only after the engineering design of the pipeline that we will know exactly (what) the cost of the pipeline will be. When that time comes, we will be talking about funding,” he said.
Four years ago, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari agreed to move ahead with the mega-project to carry gas along the Atlantic Coast, after an initial deal was signed in 2016.
Under the deal, both countries plan to extend the pipeline that has been pumping gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana since 2010. Nigeria has the largest proven gas reserves in Africa and the 7th largest globally.