Nigeria along side Algeria and Niger have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a natural gas pipeline across the Sahara Desert.
This was disclosed by the Algeria’s Energy Minister, Mohamed Arkab, yesterday. According to him, the three countries had decided in June to review ive decades-old talks over the project, a potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources.
Arkab said after the signing ceremony, the three countries would proceed with talks to accomplish the project as quickly as possible.
The Trans-Saharan gas pipeline is an estimated $13 billion project that could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe, This Day paper reports.
The pipeline is anticipated to span around 4,000 kilometres and has been scheduled to start in Warri, Nigeria, and to end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe.
This was first proposed more than 40 years ago and an agreement signed between the countries in 2009, but progress had stalled, a Reuters report noted.
Algeria exported 54 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021, mainly to Italy and Spain.
The MoU was signed in Algiers by the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Arkab; Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and Niger Minister of Energy and Renewables, Mahamane Mahamadou.
An accord was signed by Nigeria, Niger, and Algeria in 2009 to build the Trans Saharan gas pipeline project which was to be completed in 2015. But for various reasons, including growing security concerns, the project was stopped temporarily.
The proposed pipeline will source natural gas from Nigeria and traverse north through Niger, and further to Algeria.
The revitalization of the project is coming against the backdrop of pressure from the European Union (EU) on African countries to ramp up production, following the supply distortions resulted in by the Russia-Ukraine war.