Despite the troubled game of Algeria which uses its influence on the continent to slow down the project, Nigeria for its part is doing everything possible for the success of its gas pipeline project in which it is engaged with Morocco. A project that will do a lot of good for Africa insofar as the gas issue is at the heart of African news but especially international with the war in Ukraine.
The announcement was made by the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources himself. This is Timipre Sylva. On May 2, in Abuja, Nigeria, he revealed to the press in his country that: “the Russians are very keen to invest in the Africa Atlantic gas pipeline project”. Indeed, this is a project that aims to connect Nigerian gas fields to Morocco, crossing twelve West African countries. But also, possibly continue its journey to Europe.
Continuing his remarks, the Minister specified that several other entities are interested in this project and would like to invest in it. Among these entities, he notably cited OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) which has openly expressed its interest in the Africa Atlantic gas pipeline. It is important to remember that this project was initiated by the King of Morocco Mohammed VI in December 2016. He was visiting Nigeria. 6 years later, the project seems to be really taking shape.
Funding is already beginning to be used. While the Australian engineering consultancy firm WorleyParsons won the contract giving it the exclusive right to provide the project’s initial technical design services, known in technical parlance as FEED (for Front-End Engineering Design), the OPEC has signed a financing agreement with the Nigerian government for 14.3 million dollars from FEED. These 14.3 million dollars are added to the 29.75 million dollars provided by the Islamic Development Bank (EIB) in December 2021, still intended for the financing of FEED. The States of Morocco and Nigeria must also provide a total amount of 90 million dollars, or 45 million for each country, also to finance the FEED. All things that demonstrate that the project is well and truly launched. Even here, according to estimates, the project will definitely see the light of day in at least 25 years. This project is therefore not an alternative to Algerian gas. Algeria, which had decided not to renew the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, thus excluding Morocco from access to its gas since November 1, 2021.
In total, the Afrique Atlantique gas pipeline is expected to cost $25 billion. A very colossal sum, however, despite the presence of the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria. Minister Timipre Sylva declares in particular on this subject: “We have not yet fully concluded a financial arrangement. Many people are showing interest. There’s a lot of international interest, investor interest in the project, but we haven’t really identified the investors we want to work with.”
At this time when European countries want to get out of dependence on Russian gas, the Africa Atlantic project has a favorable assent. Several countries would therefore be tempted to invest in it, such as Germany, the United States and Russia itself.
This project therefore has a certain future. Its benefits will be wonderful first for Africa but also for many other countries. Seen from this angle, the international community is ready to help materialize this project.