The kingdom of Morocco and Nigeria have worked effectively and constructively to ensure that the feasibility study of the gas pipeline, which is the first phase of this strategic project, is carried out by the contractor in a professional manner and in accordance with best practices.
Titanic, gigantic… there is no shortage of superlatives to describe the gas pipeline project linking Nigeria and Morocco. This is probably the pan-African project of the century due to its impact on many countries in the continent. This fine example of inter-African partnership is taking shape.
The pipeline measures approximately 5,660 km and its Capex has been defined. The construction is expected to take place in several phases and meet the growing needs of the crossed countries and of Europe over the next 25 years.
These include the regional collaboration between Morocco, Nigeria, Mauritania and the ECOWAS countries with the aim of promoting trade and development in the mutual interest of the countries, the integration of the economies of the sub-region in accordance with the objectives of the NEPAD.
The reduction of gas “flaring” and the diversification of energy sources, the contribution to the fight against desertification by using gas as a reliable and sustainable form of energy in the sub-region and wealth creation and poverty reduction by opening up opportunities for economic growth in the sub-region.
Morocco and Nigeria worked to launch the project
Launched in 2016 in Abuja under the chairmanship of HM King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, this large-scale project will link Nigeria's gas resources, those of several West African countries and Morocco and will thus promote regional economic integration.
In June 2018, this project entered a new phase. Indeed, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan and HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, presided over the signing ceremony of three cooperation agreements bilateral, including one relating to the strategic Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project.
The joint declaration between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Federal Republic of Nigeria relating to the realization of the next phase of the strategic regional gas pipeline project connecting the gas resources of Nigeria to the countries of West Africa and to Morocco.
The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project was conceived during the State visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to Nigeria in December 2016, the gas pipeline cooperation agreement was signed in Rabat, on May 15, 2017. This commits the two parties, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC and ONHYM of Morocco to jointly sponsor a feasibility study and a FEED for the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project.
The amount of the gas project
This is an extremely ambitious project as it starts from Nigeria and eventually reaches Europe, going through the west coast of Africa and crossing the Mediterranean. The entire project will need an amount of magnitude of $ 25 billion to $ 30 billion in investments, or even more. Nevertheless, it should be noted that when the NNPC indicated in June that it was going to start construction of the project, that did not mean the full construction of the gas pipeline, but the phase of the project.
However, this is one of its advantages; it can be designed in different phases. The first part will already make it possible to sell gas to neighboring countries before continuing to progress over a more or less long period of time.
The economic impact of the pipeline
It will potentially be very large and diverse. The most obvious economic impact is on Nigeria. Nigeria has two interests: exporting more gas and therefore having more export earnings, and reducing the burning of gas associated with oil. On this route, other countries have gas reserves; these countries will also be able to export it by putting it in this pipeline and selling it to other African countries.
The other economic interest this time is for countries that do not have gas; they will be able to import it via this pipeline. Finally, many African countries still suffer from electricity shortages which hamper their economic development and impact their populations. Importing this gas would therefore allow them to transform it into electricity through thermal power plants powered by natural gas.
This project does not only involve an energy issue, but also an industrial, agricultural and food issue. With gas, we can make fertilizers, which means an increase in agricultural production and productivity and therefore in the diet of populations. It is an energy project that involves essential multidimensional issues in terms of economic benefits for these countries.
The geopolitical impact of the project
The geopolitical impact depends a lot on whether the project is carried out in its entirety or not. The more comprehensively it is carried out, that is, from Nigeria to Morocco and then to Europe, the greater the geopolitical impact will be.
Therefore, based on the maximum full realization assumption, for the European Union, this would be an additional source of natural gas. The EU has for years sought to diversify its sources of gas imports, especially from Russia, its main supplier.
It will therefore look for gas elsewhere; a gas pipeline coming from Azerbaijan, from the Caspian Sea has recently come into operation. Europe also brings in Liquefied Natural Gas from the United States, Qatar, and is now looking at what is happening in Africa.
For Nigeria, which is already a major exporter vis-à-vis Benin, Togo and Ghana, the geopolitical interest would be to position itself more in regional and international markets. For other countries, the geopolitical impact joins the economic impact. The production of electricity and fertilizers will allow their economic development and therefore some political and social stabilization.