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Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline set to commence, says NNPC boss, Kyari

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

The Nigerian-Morroco gas pipeline project is about to commence its final stage.

The National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has provided insights into the upcoming Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP), suggesting that it will be made in December.

The Chief Executive officer Mr Mele Kyari has reaffirmed that the project will further drive Nigerian economic growth

Initially proposed in a 2016 agreement between NNPCL and the Moroccan Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), the $25 billion NMGP aims to connect Nigerian gas to numerous West African coastal countries, ultimately reaching Tangiers, Morocco, and Cádiz, Spain. This pipeline would essentially extend the existing West Africa Gas Pipeline, which currently links Nigeria with Benin, Togo, and Ghana.

The CEO, speaking at a Leadership Dialogue Session during the CERAWeek Conference in Houston, emphasized the importance of a nuanced approach to energy transition in Africa. He highlighted the need for countries to first ensure energy security before pursuing transition initiatives, especially in regions like sub-Saharan Africa where energy availability remains a significant challenge.

The CEO emphasized, “The world has seen all the challenges thrown up recently by geopolitical events. It is clear that before energy transition, countries must first attain security of energy supply in their countries. You cannot talk about energy security when it is not even available. In most sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population don’t have access to clean cooking fuels. Therefore, you must fill the supply gap first,”

Acknowledging the global push towards renewables, he stressed the necessity of securing funds for renewable projects while addressing the immediate supply gap. The CEO emphasized the pivotal role of gas in achieving a cost-effective energy transition, particularly for Nigeria, a country abundant in gas resources.

Furthermore, he added, “If you insist on completing substitution today, then you have to deal with the problem of supply. 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% of the entire global emissions,”

Regarding NNPC Ltd’s priorities, he outlined efforts to enhance domestic gas supply and infrastructure development. Notably, discussions regarding the NMGP, spanning thirteen African countries and extending into Europe, are progressing well, with the FID expected by December 2024.

Kyari made note, “We understand the arguments towards attaining energy transition, but the cheapest way to achieve that is through gas. 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,”

Additionally, he highlighted the significance of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 in reforming Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, positioning NNPC Ltd as a commercially viable entity accountable to shareholders.

Kyari further stated, “Ït is an abnormal situation, but it is well within control. We were able to recover some of our production and build back confidence so that investors can bring in their money. We are also doing global advocacy to governments and institutions, because stolen oil has to be taken to the market,”

Addressing challenges such as crude oil theft, he highlighted collaborative efforts between government and private security agencies, leading to improvements in crude oil production and investor confidence.

The CEO’s remarks underscored Nigeria’s commitment to energy security, economic development, and global energy advocacy. With the CERAWeek Conference serving as a vital platform for such discussions, the 2024 edition aims to explore strategies for a comprehensive energy transition amid evolving market dynamics, climate imperatives, and geopolitical considerations.

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