Latest actualisation 22nd february 2022
Niger, Algeria and Nigeria have signed the ‘Declaration of Niamey’ during the third edition of the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF) in Niamey on February 16, 2022. Signed by H.E. Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies for the Republic of Niger, H.E.Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and Mines, Algeria, and H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, the agreement will see the development resumption of the multi-billion-dollar Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project.
With a length of 4,128 kilometers, the gas pipeline will link Warri in Nigeria to Hassi R’Mel in Algeria, passing through Niger.
Upon completion, the pipeline will carry 30 Bn cubic meters of natural gas yearly from Nigeria, Algeria and Niger to European markets via Algeria’s strategic Mediterranean coastline. The gas transported through the gasoduct will supply as well inland stations along its route.
The pipeline will enable Europe to tap directly into the three country’s significant natural gas reserves, thus diversifying its supply in the wake of the current energy crisis, while creating critical sources of revenue for African gas markets.
In the begining of the project the pipeline was going to be built and operated by Sonatrac, a leader in the energy (oil and gas) production transport and marketing in Africa and NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) one of Africa’s largest State oil & gas companies.
Much of the estimated $13 Bn pipeline cost will be spent in Niger, a country that aims to become a hub for hydrocarbons, petrochemicals and associated products in West Africa. The Trans-Saharan Pipeline projects only serves to enhance this trend.
An opportunity to boost the economy of the African countries besides enhancing energy security in Europe
The planned energy infrastructures will boost Niger’s growth and position it as a key bridge between resource rich sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghrebian and European markets. This is good news for investors and services companies seeking for attractive returns in one of Africa’s most promising hydrocarbons frontiers with one of the continent’s most stable democracies.
Despite this statement the opposition by by the Nigerian militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta poses a risk for the completiona of the project. A spokesman for the group warned that until issues regarding the exploitation of the Niger Delta and its people have been resolved, “any money put into the project will go down the drain.”
Russian gas company Gazprom has been negotiating with Nigeria about its possible participation in the project. Also Indian company GAIL, France’s Total S.A., Italy’s Eni S.p.A, and Royal Dutch Shell have expressed interest in participating in the business.
According to the Algerian Government only partners that can bring something to the project, not just money, should be there.
Former position of Energy ministers of Algeria and Nigeria was not bringing international oil companies into the project, at least initially. If need for financing makes it necessary not every partner will be welcome on board.
“We are happy to be in Niamey and fully support this project. The energy industry and the working men and women in Africa applaud Nigeria, Niger Republic and Algeria for sending a strong message that the Trans-Saharan pipeline is in our best interest as it will improve energy security, create good paying jobs and expand much needed economic growth,” Stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.
“Restarting this project, sends a clear message to investors, and important strategic partners in Europe and Africa, that things are changing in Africa. We will be pushing to have some key milestones and agreements signed and announced during African Energy Week in October in Cape Town,” he added
“This project will be transformational for all the countries involved and we in Nigeria are committed wholy to making it a success. It will bring jobs and much needed revenue from gas monetization” stated H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva.
The development of Niger’s oil and gas industry is a key stated objective of the Government of Niger, and by 2025, is expected to represent approximately 24% of GDP, 45% of tax revenues, and 68% of exports as well as 8% to 12% of total formal employment in Niger.
The Government of Niger aims to to have at least 50% of all technical roles in the sector filled by Nigerians within the next 10 years.
A project first propposed in 1970
The Trans-Saharan Pipeline was first proposed in the 1970s. On 14 January 2002, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Algerian national oil and gas company Sonatrach signed a Memorandum of Understanding for preparations of the project. In June 2005, NNPC and Sonatrach signed a contract with Penspen Limited for a feasibility study of the project.The study was completed in September 2006, and it found the pipeline to be technically and economically feasible and reliable.
At the meeting on 20 February 2009, NNPC and Sonatrach agreed to proceed with the draft Memorandum of Understanding between three governments and the joint venture agreement.The intergovernmental agreement on the pipeline was signed by energy ministers of Nigeria, Niger and Algeria on 3 July 2009 in Abuja.
There were no development updates for a number of years from 2009 to 2019.
In 2019–20, the pipeline began to be mentioned again in planning documents. With the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano leg of the Trans Nigeria Gas Pipeline moving into advanced development, NNPC stated that the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline would be built to continue the Trans Nigeria pipeline on from Kano to Algeria. The pipeline was listed at 4400 km in length.
Image over the headline.- H.E. Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies for the Republic of Niger, H.E.Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and Mines, Algeria, and H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria sign the agreement to bring back on track the Trans Sharan Gas Pipeline. The signing took place during the third edition of the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF) held in Niamey on February 16th, 2022. Photo ECOMOF.