Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco are in active talks to expedite the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Nigeria-Morocco Gas pipeline. These important discussions occurred during a meeting between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr. Ekperikpe Ekpo, and the Moroccan Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Ms. Leila Benali. The discussions revolved around strategies to enhance the collaboration between the two nations for expediting progress on the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project, aligning with the array of Memoranda of Understanding signed between the two countries in Abuja during 2022.
In an official statement, Mr. Olufemi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (NNPCL), revealed that the gathering was led by Mr. Olalekan Ogunleye, NNPC Ltd.’s Executive Vice President overseeing Gas, Power, and New Energy, joined by Mme. Amina Benkhadra, the Director General of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), which stands for the Morocco National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines. Both parties highlighted the project’s strategic significance for both nations and the entire African continent. They stressed the urgency of promptly pursuing its completion to effectively combat energy poverty across Africa.
Capacity of the pipeline is set at 30 billion cubic meters per year.
A Cooperation agreement was initially made in 2017 to construct a pipeline spanning 5,300 kilometers from Nigeria to Dhakia in Morocco, followed by another stretch of 1,700 kilometers to Northern Morocco. This colossal project, with a diameter of 48 inches, aimed to transport an annual capacity of 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. The pipeline’s capacity set at 30 billion cubic meters per year, which is equivalent to a 3.0 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day. This pipeline would Span across Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire , Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and ultimately conclude in Morocco, potentially expanding further into Spain.
Given the international nature of the project, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is charged with overseeing various tasks, such as promoting inter-governmental agreements and treaties, forming the Pipeline Higher Authority, and ensuring alignment with international bodies like the AU, UN, and others. One of the main objectives of this project is to aid in the monetization of Nigeria’s gas resources while also ensuring the sustainment of NNPC Ltd.’s prominence in Africa and fostering economic growth and encouraging collaborative efforts among nations within the continent.
Construction of the pipeline reportedly commenced in 2021.
The envisioned gas pipeline aims to link Nigeria’s resources with all West African coastal nations (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania), ultimately reaching Tangiers in Morocco and Cádiz in Spain. It would seemingly extend the current West African Gas Pipeline, which already successfully connects Nigeria with Benin, Togo, and Ghana. According to reports, Morocco is encouraging Nigeria to prioritize the construction of this pipeline over the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline due to concerns that the latter would have to traverse an area marked by considerable militant presence.
Reports by Africa Intelligence in 2020 shows that the front-end engineering & design had entered the second phase. In June of 2021, a report stated that pipeline construction had commenced, while another report in May 2022 indicated that the project had entered the preliminary phase of technical design. In August of 2023, it was reported that there was a potential risk to the project due to the coup that took place in Niger. This particular coup fueled an increase in tensions between Eastern and Western forces within Africa, with the newly appointed leader suspending exports to France.
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Upon completion, the project is expected to be the greatest offshore pipeline in the world, as well as the second longest pipeline generally. According to projections made back in 2017, the completion of this pipeline project is estimated to be 2046. As of June 2023, reports confirmed the involvement of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea, and Benin in partnering with Morocco and Nigeria to embark on the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline endeavor. As a result of this progress, the project now involves ten states, expanding upon the previous commitments made with ECOWAS, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.