Algeria's Energy Ministry has revealed details of a meeting with Nigeria and Niger to discuss a trans-Sahara gas pipeline project, the Algeria Press Service reported on Monday. The meeting was held in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
This has laid the "first building blocks" of the project which is intended to be implemented as soon as possible, said Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, after discussions with Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, and Niger's Minister of Energy and Renewable Energies, Mahamane Sani Mahamadou. According to Arkab, the meeting was "important and successful".
It was agreed to continue consultations through the technical team that was formed in Abuja and tasking it to prepare the necessary feasibility studies for the project. It was also agreed that the three ministers should meet again no later than the end of July in Algeria.
The Algerian oil company Sonatrach signed the first memorandum of understanding for the gas pipeline project with the Nigerian State Oil Company in 2001. The initial cost of the project at that time was estimated at $13 billion to transport 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually.
Nigeria and Morocco are discussing a similar project, with a pipeline more than 5,600 km in length, linking the two countries to Europe via Spain. This will help to deliver Nigerian gas to the EU.
The government in Rabat is looking to provide new sources of natural gas, after Algeria suspended work on a gas pipeline to Spain via Morocco due to political differences. The latter was charging transit fees, in addition to gas supplied for local use.
The global demand for natural gas has risen, especially within the EU, which is looking for alternatives to Russian gas because of the war in Ukraine.