Central African countries to launch regional oil & gas pipeline network to reduce dependence on imports of refined products
Central African countries inked a deal Thursday to build a regional oil and gas pipeline network and hub infrastructures which backers say will strengthen energy supply and reduce dependence on imports of refined products, Reuters reports.
The signatories are Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Republic, all oil producers or having vast untapped oil and gas reserves but are dependent on refined products imports.
The project seeks to construct three multinational oil and gas pipeline systems of around 6,500 km, storage depots, liquefied natural gas terminals, at least three refineries and gas-fired power plants linking 11 countries by 2030.
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of OPEC member Equatorial Guinea said at a forum leading to the deal that the project was crucial to tackle energy poverty in the region.
Obiang Lima also indicated that the project is taking a leaf out of West Africa’s gas pipeline linking Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana, and the European model where Rotterdam serves as a refining and distributing hub for several countries.
“It will not be cheap, or easy, but if it is done as a collaboration, it will work,” he said, adding that the network will help get rid of trucks crisscrossing countries and boost the regional oil and gas market taking products where needed.
The African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) and the Central Africa Business Energy Forum are among key backers of the project.
Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of APPO said the project was one of the most ambitious energy infrastructure projects whose completion has the potential to dramatically change the economies of participating countries.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has caused energy and fuel shortage in the central African countries and triggered an increase in the cost of living.