Moroccan Energy and Mines Minister Aziz Rabbah has dismissed reports claiming a halt in the Moroccan-Nigerian gas pipeline saying that studies are ongoing and that West African states welcome the project.
The project was launched by Morocco and Nigeria in 2016 with feasibility studies already underway.
“Studies relating to the Morocco-Nigeria pipeline are underway,” said the minister adding that “West African countries are always interested by this future infrastructure, including Mauritania, which has expressed its interest in the pipeline as a producing country.
He dismissed the media reports that claimed that Nigeria will give up the project in favor of a trans-Saharan pipeline to Algeria. In this respect, the Minister explained that the two projects complement each other.
Rabbah underscored the positive impact of the Atlantic pipeline on regional integration in West Africa.
The gas pipeline is also conducive to reaching energy independence in the entire West African region.
The trans-Saharan gas pipeline between Algeria and Nigeria was resurrected at a joint committee between the two countries.
Experts estimate that a gas pipeline crossing the sea is safer for Nigeria to find new energy markets.
Security conditions in northern Nigeria, Niger and the Algerian south, the supposed route of the Trans-Saharan Gas pipeline, remain volatile with the presence of terrorist groups taking advantage of porous borders and attacking pipelines and gas installations. This adds to the unfeasibility of the Algerian project and gives credence to the Atlantic gas pipeline project to channel gas through offshore pipelines.
Some economists consider that Algeria has also shown indifference to the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline because it does not want to offer its main client, Europe, an alternative source of gas. Algeria nurtured the hope of becoming Russia’s Europe to the South.
On the other hand, several reports by international think tanks warned that Algeria’s domestic consumption of gas is on the rise coupled with a falling production. The country’s export capacity is steadily decreasing making it an unreliable gas supplier. Therefore, the Moroccan-Nigerian pipeline will offer Europe a much needed new source of gas that will reduce European countries dependence on Russian and Algerian gas.