It’s been 40 years in the making, the dream of moving natural gas through the Sahara Desert. Algeria, Nigeria, and Niger have finally signed a promising memorandum of understanding (M.O.U). European countries are looking to diversify their natural gas sources, and this deal could be what they need. We’ll likely see this $13 billion project provide up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas into Europe annually.
It Takes Two to Tango, Three to Takeover
It isn’t the first time an agreement has been signed between the states. In 2009, all three put pen to paper, but no headway was made. Now, Europe’s crisis has created an enabling or encouraging environment. Last month, the EU’s energy department made it clear that it’s seeking to get more gas from Nigeria.
And from Nigeria, the gas shall come. The pipeline will run from Warri, Nigeria, through Niger and into Hassi R’Mel in Algeria. From there, you’re looking at a connection being made to pipelines already heading to Europe. The three signatories to the MOU aren’t just geographically well-positioned for the project, but they’ve been meaning to scale up their energy capacities.
Nigeria supplied the EU with just over 20 billion cubic metres of gas, but that’s less than what they’ve exported in the past. Security issues, now to be addressed with full force, have factored into that. Still, the country plays a pivotal role in the sector, especially with all the interest in African energy. For one, Bell Oil and Gas will soon construct a factory for the design, production, and repair of valves by 2025.
Algeria also has some big moves on the cards. She’ll soon benefit from a $4 billion gas deal with Italy. She’s been the leading supplier of gas to the European nation. There’s even talk of the two countries working together to develop renewable energy.
All eyes have also been on Niger of late, and it’s no wonder why. This place holds an estimated 34 billion cubic feet of gas reserves. 24% of the GDP in Niger comes from oil and gas. It’s also the biggest country in West Africa, with 80% of the Sahara Desert contained within it.
Now you see why the deal makes sense. It’s the perfect combination of experience, capacity, and ample space. You have a 4000km gas ‘highway’ leading to one of the places that need it most right now. It simply is a no-brainer, and it’s almost appalling how long it’s taken for this plan to be realised.
This truly is a historic threeway that we’re about to witness. It marks a new age of collaboration among African countries in the industry. Perhaps it’ll inspire other gas-rich nations in the continent to work together. We can only hope it seamlessly comes to fruition and ushers in an era of African energy sovereignty.