For nearly six years now Nigeria has been trying to interest Europe in a 5,660-km gas pipeline that would transport Nigerian natural gas to Morocco and ultimately to Europe. The intention was to assist Europe in becoming less dependent on Russian gas. The great irony is that now Russia, experiencing an unprecedented tidal wave of anti-Russian sentiment in Europe, has held talks with the Nigerians to invest in a pipeline intending to help shield Europe from Russian influence.
"The Russians were with me in the office last week. They are very desirous to invest in this project and there are lots of other people who are also desirous to invest in the project," Timipre Sylva, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, told reporters in Abuja. He added "this is a pipeline that is going to take our gas all through a lot of countries in Africa and also, all the way to the edge of the African continent where we can have access to the European market as well. We would like to be reliable partners to solve the energy problem in Europe and we can only achieve this by working together. It is only when investment in these areas is increased that Nigeria can meet that obligation,” Sylva said."
In the recent past Sylva has expressed his dissatisfaction with European foot-dragging in supporting Nigerian hydrocarbon development: "One of the things we warned against earlier was the speed with which EU was taking away investments in fossil fuels. We warned that the speed was faster than they were developing renewable energy. You can see now that what we were warning against is what is happening now,” stated Sylva, in a critique of the EU’s previous stance.
The EU’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, revealed that the EU is negotiating with gas-producing countries, including Algeria, about expanding LNG supplies.
Then, a week before February’s EU-African Union summit in Brussels, European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Nigerian vice president Yemi Osinbajo agreed to “explore all options for increased supply of Liquified Natural Gas from Nigeria to the EU”.