Nigeria's Judicial Executive Council has given the green light to the agreement between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to build a new gas pipeline connecting Nigeria to Morocco.
Following yesterday's meeting with the Nigerian Federal Executive Council, the Minister of State for Petroleum Affairs, Timipre Sylva, announced that the national oil company, NNPC, has been authorised to enter into an agreement with Ecowas, the North African group of countries promoting economic integration, to build the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline.
According to the Nigerian press, which has reported this information widely, Minister Sylva recalled that the project is still at an early stage of technical design. The final cost will be determined as the project plans progress. During his speech, the member of the Nigerian government stressed the importance of this new gas pipeline and the possibilities it offers: "this pipeline will transport gas to 15 West African countries and to Morocco, and through Morocco to Spain and Europe".
The media take advantage of the news to recall that the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project was proposed in 2016 during the negotiations of an agreement between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Moroccan National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM). The new project, approved on 1 June, will connect Nigerian gas to all West African coastal countries: Benin, Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mauritania, passing through Tangier and ending in Cadiz.
The first indications of the construction of the pipeline, which will be the longest in the world, came in 2018 when Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's media adviser, Tolu Ogunlesi, reported on his Twitter account that an agreement had been concluded between NNCP and the Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of Morocco (ONHYM). The president declared: "Nigeria and Morocco are cooperating to build the world's longest gas pipeline," adding that "it will carry gas from Nigeria to Morocco to Europe, passing through 11 West African countries".
According to a press release issued by the Australian company Worley, the company chosen to carry out the preliminary studies for the project and design the pipeline: "When completed, the more than 7,000-kilometre-long pipeline, promoted by Morocco's National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), will connect Nigeria to Morocco, cross 13 West African countries and extend to Europe. It will be the longest offshore pipeline in the world and the second longest overall".
The agreement between Morocco and Nigeria comes at a key moment in the gas crisis. The authorities of both countries have chosen the Australian company Worley to draw up the design and route of the pipeline, which will be more than 7,000 kilometres long and will cross thirteen countries until it reaches Cadiz.
The start-up comes at a crucial moment for Spain after Algeria decided to close the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline on 31 October due to a diplomatic crisis with the Alawi kingdom.
The new pipeline, also called the African Atlantic gas pipeline, "will help boost local industries and economies by providing a reliable and sustainable source of energy. It will also support industrial development and create employment opportunities," reports Worley. Through the new pipeline, states along the route will be able to export gas to neighbouring countries and European states.
To develop such an ambitious project, Worley will mobilise all its offices around the world. The general services have been entrusted to Intecsea, the offshore engineering consultancy in the Netherlands. They will be responsible for project implementation and supervision of the engineering study.
The onshore pipeline impact, as well as the environmental and social impact assessment and land acquisition studies will be carried out by the UK team. On the other hand, the feasibility study will be commissioned from the network of offices located in Africa and India.