Nigeria Expects FID on Gas Pipeline with Morocco by Year-End

The final investment decision (FID) on the planned $25 billion Nigeria-Morocco pipeline linking North and West Africa could be reached by December, a senior Nigerian oil official said.Nigerian National Petroleum Co. Ltd. (NNPC) chief executive Mele Kyari announced this at the CERAweek energy conference in Houston, Texas, where he championed the role of gas in the energy transition, according to a news release by NNPC.

“We understand the arguments towards attaining energy transition, but the cheapest way to achieve that is through gas”, Kyari was quoted as saying in the NNPC report. “We see clear opportunities that gas creates. Today we are building a number of trunklines and other gas infrastructure that will supply gas to a number of gas networks”.

The press release stated citing Kyari, “[T]here is an ongoing engagement on the Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline Project (NMGP), which is at an advanced stage, to create a pipeline that will pass through thirteen African countries and all the way to Europe”.The pipeline is proposed to run from Nigeria to Morocco passing through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania, according to information from NNPC and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The project is planned to have a gas transport capacity of three billion cubic feet per day, according to NNPC. While the project agreement was signed 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed September 2022 merging the West Africa gas pipeline extension project of ECOWAS and the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline. 

Earlier oil and energy officials from Nigeria and Morocco met to elevate discussions toward an FID for the project.“The project, among other things, will help drive the monetization of Nigeria’s gas resources, maintain NNPC Ltd.’s energy leadership in Africa, and promote economic and regional cooperation among African Countries”, NNPC said in a statement January 25 about the talks.

“Due to the international nature of the project, the ECOWAS Commission is saddled with the responsibility to, among other things, facilitate inter-governmental treaty and host government agreements, establishment of Pipeline Higher Authority, and alignment with AU [African Union], UN and other relevant international bodies”, it said at the time.

“The talks focused on how to drive the partnership between the two countries to accelerate the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project in line with the series of Memoranda of Understanding signed between the two countries in Abuja in 2022”, NNPC said. “Both parties emphasized the strategic importance of the project to the two countries and the entire African continent and the need to drive it to completion expeditiously in line with the objective of stemming energy poverty on the African continent”. 

Last year more African countries signed MOUs committing themselves to pursuing the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline project.Four MOUs were inked June 16, 2023, by NNPC, Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, Benin’s National Hydrocarbons Co., Cote d’Ivoire’s National Company for Petroleum Operations, Guinea’s National Petroleum Co. and Liberia’s National Oil Co., as announced by NNPC at the time.

While announcing the planned FID at CERAWeek, Kyari told energy executives and government officials that “before energy transition, countries must first attain security of energy supply”, as quoted by the NNPC release.“You cannot talk about energy security when it is not even available”, the NNPC leader was quoted as saying. “In most sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of the population don’t have access to clean cooking fuels”.Kyari added, “For us today, the transition must be differentiated”.“Even if Africa decides to switch off its fossil fuels, it only accounts for just about 3 percent of the entire global emissions”, Kyari said.