Nigeria, Morocco, others scout for $30b private fund to build pipeline

Nigeria and key African countries are scouting for over $30 billion to bring to reality the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline.

This comes as Société Nationale des Opérations Pétrolières of Cote d’Ivoire (PETROCI), the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures of Benin (SNH-Benin), and the Société Nationale des Pétroles of the Republic of Guinea (SONAP) joined the deal yesterday in Abuja through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

A 6,000-kilometre project championed by Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and the Moroccan Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) is expected to cross 13 African countries along the Atlantic coast with supply to landlocked states of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The project is expected to cost between $25 – $40 billion.

Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari said funding would come from across the world. “We already have a line of sight around where this funding will come from,” Kyari said.

With the initiative, gas resources available in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania and a few other countries would be pulled together to make energy available on the continent, Kyari said.

While Nigeria has 209 trillion standard cubic feet of gas, Senegal has about 40,000 billion cubic feet of natural gas while Mauritania has proven natural gas resources of over 28.3 billion cubic meters.

The development, according to Kyari, would drive prosperity and ensure energy security on the African continent. He disclosed that the FEED Phase II Study is over 70 per cent and the tendering process for the Surveys, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) as well as Land Acquisition & Resettlement Policy Framework (LARPF) are on track with clear visibility into project funding.

The project would, according to him, extend far beyond gas supply to spur prosperity and economic integration between our nations.

“As a commercial enterprise, NNPC sees this project as an opportunity to monetise our abundant hydrocarbon resources, by expanding access to energy to support economic growth, industrialisation, and job creation across the African continent and other geographies.

Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitisation, Sédiko Douka said the project could extend beyond $40 billion and the timeline may not be ascertained until preliminary studies are completed.

He disclosed that the governments of the countries are not looking to commit resources into the project, adding: “being a bankable project, it would be funded mainly by the private sector.

“The gas pipeline project is of paramount importance for our region, as it will help strengthen our electricity production/generation capacity, stimulate industrial and agricultural development, and contribute to the energy transition by using a source of energy that is cleaner than other fossil fuels,” he said.

Stressing that gas-fired power plants will account for 42 per cent of the region’s installed electricity capacity, Douka said, the project is vital to establish all the necessary strategies now to guarantee the region’s supply of natural gas, and thus meet the challenges of the future.

Kingsley Jeremiah | Guardian

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