In Rabat, Moroccan and Nigerian authorities signed a memorandum of understanding on a gas pipeline project on Thursday 15 September. This project will not only connect Nigeria to Morocco, but also ensure the supply of West Africa and Europe.
Three major players are involved in the signing of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project memorandum. They are the heads of the National Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), the Moroccan Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and a senior official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for energy.
The great ambition to relieve two continents
The Nigeria-Morocco project covers 6,000 km and will cross 13 African countries along the Atlantic coast and supply the landlocked states of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
More than 5,000 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be transported to Morocco to supply the Maghreb Europe Pipeline (GME) and the European gas network.
Addressing the pressing need for dependence on Russian gas
No timetable has been established for the implementation of this project. However, the current geopolitical context is marked by strong international demand for gas and oil and soaring prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Several countries, particularly in Europe, are seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian deliveries.
The NMGP, an almost 5 year old project
The very tense atmosphere between Morocco and Algeria, Africa’s largest exporter of natural gas and the 7th largest in the world, did not favor the signing of the NMGP memorandum, announced in late 2016. Similarly, the crisis between the two Maghreb heavyweights led to the severance of their diplomatic relations in August 2021 at the initiative of Algiers.
As an immediate consequence, Algeria deprived Rabat of its gas by closing in October the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME) carrying Algerian gas to Spain through Morocco. Since then, Rabat has found itself in difficulty and is seeking to diversify the avenues to cover its needs.
Algeria makes new allies after its break with Rabat
For its part, Algeria has set in motion new strategies to diversify its gas. In this context, it was signed in late July, a memorandum of understanding between the Algerian, Nigerian and Nigerian Ministers of Energy to materialize a competing megaproject of trans-Saharan gas pipeline (TSGP). More than 4,000 km long, this project will allow Nigerian gas to be transported to Europe via Niger and Algeria.
To date, no date has been given for the completion of the Trans-Saharan.