Fresh MoU To Fast Track $13B Trans-Saharan Gas Project

 

Richard Ginika Izuora

Algeria, Niger and Nigeria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on Thursday in a fresh push to facilitate a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline.

Algeria’s Energy Ministry said the natural gas pipeline would stretch across the Sahara desert.

It is estimated that, once the $13 billion (€12.75 billion) pipeline is complete, it will transport up to 30 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of gas annually from Nigeria, in West Africa, north through Niger and on to Algeria.

From there, it could be pumped through the undersea Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline to Europe or loaded onto Liquefied Natural Gas tankers for export.

The idea was first proposed over 40 years ago, but progress stalled.

The new momentum comes as the European Union seeks to wean itself off Russia gas during the war in Ukraine.

The security situation in the Sahel region and tensions between the governments in Algiers and Niamey also delayed the project.

It wasn’t until 2021, when Algeria and Niger reopened their border, that discussions to construct the pipeline restarted.

Earlier this week, EU member states agreed to reduce gas consumption as concerns grow that Russia might cut off already decreasing deliveries.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had said the deal to reduce gas use was about preventing the Kremlin from being able to blackmail the EU with gas deliveries: to stop “Russia using gas as a weapon,” as she put it.

Algeria’s energy minister Mohamed Arkab said on Thursday that the three countries agreed in June to revive decades-old talks over the project, a potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources.

Arkab told reporters after the signing ceremony that the three countries will continue talks to achieve the project as quickly as possible.

According to Algeria’s Ennahar TV, the pipeline is expected to span around 4,000 kilometers. It has been slated to start in Warri, Nigeria, and to end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe.

Algeria exported 54 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021, mainly to Italy and Spain.

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