The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed the Moroccan-Nigerian off-shore on-shore gas pipeline that will benefit 13 African countries instead of the Algerian ink on paper proposal of a tans-Saharan pipeline.
A meeting was held in Burkina Faso on December 9-10 in the capital Ouagadougou by the ECOWAS’ energy ministers in a move that sends a clear message of support for the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline that aims at fostering regional integration and strengthening energy security of West African states.
The pipeline will benefit 13 West African nations compared to the Algerian rusty promise of a transaharian pipeline that crosses only Niger and has never been subject to any feasibility study.
The Atlantic Nigerian-Moroccan pipeline will also help Western African nations develop their gas exports to Europe, especially Mauritania and Senegal where significant gas assets have been discovered.
The offshore option for the West African pipeline is also safer compared to the riskier Algerian born-dead proposal of channeling Nigerian gas through the Sahara region where multiple terrorist groups operate.
The gas pipeline’s benefits transcend channeling Nigerian gas to Morocco and Europe to promote trade, regional cooperation and energy diversification in West Africa.
“This project will give Africa new impetus at the economic, political and strategic levels and will elevate Morocco and Nigeria as leaders of south-south cooperation in the continent,” Morocco’s authority for oil and mines (ONHYM) and Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said in a joint declaration on occasion of Nigerian President’s visit to Rabat in 2018.
The Algerian trans-Saharan gas pipeline is unfeasible as long as terrorist groups continue to operate in southern Algeria and northern Nigeria. It is also less beneficial to West Africa and more expensive and prone to destruction by terrorist groups.
In this respect, and in light of Algeria’s diminishing gas export capacity, the Moroccan Nigerian gas pipeline will help West Africa achieve its energy security and help Europe have an alternative to reduce dependency on Russian and Algerian gas.