Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said Tuesday that his country and Morocco are still securing funds for a huge offshore pipeline project to transport Nigerian gas to North Africa and Europe.
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.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Africa’s gas supplies are increasingly in the spotlight as the European Union looks to wean itself off Moscow’s production.
The Minister 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 this same pipeline to Morocco along the coast. For now, we are at the level of studies, and of course, we are at the level of securing funding for this project and many entities show interest," said Sylva.
He revealed that the Russians are among the international bodies ready to invest in the Moroccan-Nigeria gas pipeline project.
“The Russians were with me in the office last week, they are very desirous to invest in this project and there are a lot of other people who are also desirous to invest in the project,” he said.
However, the minister stressed he had not yet fully concluded a financial arrangement.
“There are many people expressing interest. There is a lot of international interest, investor interest in the project, but we haven't really identified the investors we want to work with,” he added.
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.
OPEC member, Nigeria, has huge gas resources, the largest proven reserves in Africa and the seventh largest globally.
Last month, Moroccan authorities and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) signed the document on $14.3 million funding for the second phase of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project, intended to be a catalyst for the economic development of the North-West African region.
The study is co-funded by the Islamic Development Bank. It comprises preparation of documents for the implementation of the NMGP project and completion of the related technical, financial and legal analysis.