Trans-Saharan pipeline: Algeria, Nigeria, Niger make their commitment concrete

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Tuesday, 2 August 2022 11:50

An employee of the Afam VI station checks a gas pipeline of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria, in Port Harcourt © Florian Plaucheur/AFP

The mega gas transport project linking Algeria, Nigeria, and Niger will eventually bring Nigerian gas to Europe.

At the third Algeria-Niger-Nigeria tripartite ministerial meeting on 28 July in Algiers, the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, and his counterparts from Nigeria, Timipre Sylva, and Niger, Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalise the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP).

This will pave the path to eventually bring billions of cubic meters of Nigerian gas to Algeria through Niger, according to the official agency Algeria Press Service (APS). Algeria will then be able to send Nigerian gas via the Transmed to the European Union, which is connected to Italy via Tunisia, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is transported by tankers.

In a statement to the press after the signing of the MOU, Arkab said the document would “move forward” the implementation of the project of the trans-Saharan gas pipeline. And this would encourage further implementation of all programmes outlined to realise the project, including the development of studies and various aspects related to the implementation, he said, adding that “the three countries have agreed to complete the project in a short time.” For now, completion date has been disclosed.

Strong demand

“It is in this context that I invite you to take this opportunity to send a strong signal to the international community on the launch of the realisation of the TSGP project, which will allow sponsors to begin searching for partners to finance and implement the project. This is in parallel with the update of the study inherent in the TSGP project,” said the Algerian minister, recalling a “geopolitical and energy context” marked by strong demand for hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, and a declining supply resulting from the lack of gas investments noted since 2014.

When the TSGP was launched in 2009, its investment cost was estimated at $10bn. With a length of 4,128 km, including 1,037km in Nigerian territory, 841km in Niger and 2,310km in Algeria, this gas pipeline will also supply the Sahel countries.

This project has been reactivated in a geopolitical context marked by strong international demand for gas and oil, and by a surge in prices, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February. Several countries, particularly in Europe, are seeking to reduce their dependency on Russian supplies and have turned to Algeria.

The country, whose proven natural gas reserves amount to nearly 2.4 trillion cubic metres, supplied about 11% of the gas consumed in Europe before the war in Ukraine, compared with 47% for Russia. It is the leading African exporter of natural gas and the seventh largest in the world.

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