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OPEC’s feasibility studies support for $25bn Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline signals hope of Nigeria as gas hub

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THERE are possibilities that Nigeria will become a gas investment hub soon as the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set to fund the $14.3 million phase 2 of the feasibility study for the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project.

The construction of the gas pipeline infrastructure, whose total cost is put at $25 billion, is expected to open Nigeria’s opportunities as a gas investments hub, ICIR findings have shown.

OPEC explained in its recent meeting in London that the support on feasibility studies for the gas infrastructure would be financed through its OPEC Fund for International Development.


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The study, it said, would carry out a detailed evaluation of the implementation and design process for the eventual construction of the pipeline by facilitating the final investment decision.

The Nigerian government had declared 2020-2030 as the year of gas, and had concretised this with President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Morocco in 2018.

The Special Assistant to President Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, who gave further insight into the development through his official twitter handle, @toluogunlesi, said the project would carry gas from Nigeria to Morocco and Europe, running across 11 West African countries.

According to the Presidential aide, “the agreement for the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline was originally signed by the two countries when President Buhari paid a visit to Morocco in June 2018.

“26 April 2022: We’ve been awarded a contract to provide main front-end engineering design (FEED phase II), services for the Nigerian-Morocco Gas Pipeline project. The engineering study is progressing in accordance with the initial project planning.”.

Ogunlesi explained that the over 7,000-kilometre long gas pipeline, when completed, would link Nigeria with Morocco, cross 11 West African countries and extend to Europe.

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“It will be the longest offshore pipeline in the world and the second longest pipeline overall,” he stated.

Although the project will take a long-term span of 25 years to be completed, beginning from 2017, industry analysts say that with the global push to clean energy, Nigeria could ride on the project to become an industrial hub.

A former chairman of the Nigeria Society of Petroleum Engineers, Joe Nwakwue, told the ICIR that he was optimistic the government was on track to fulfil its plans of a decade of gas, which began in 2020 to last till 2030.

Nwakwue said, “The project puts our plans of having a gas invesment hub on track. It started with the AKK pipeline project, the NLNG Train 7 project and the NMPG project. If well followed up, we will succeed and make Nigeria an investment hub for gas.”

Meanwhile, energy experts knowledgeable about the project said the Russia invasion of Ukraine has shown that the conceptualized NMGP could strengthen Nigeria’s economy as many European countries were shying away from Russia’s energy supply.

The analysts coherently believed that with the NMGP, Nigeria would be at an advantage with the current volatile movement in the energy world.

With the current Russian-Ukraine invasion taking its toll on many European countries depending on Russia for gas, this project, when completed, could usher Nigeria into a new era of industrialisation and clean energy.

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A partner at PricewaterCoopers (PwC), Pedro Omontuemhen, stated that many European countries would be looking to get their gas supply elsewhere if Russia was no longer dependable.

Omontuemhen also indicated the project was a national project good for Nigeria’s foreign reserve and foreign income.

“Therefore, when the economy is right, the project should be supported by any government that comes into power, irrespective of parties, politics, and policies,” he said.

Further findings by the ICIR have  shown that despite concerns of scepticism, plans for the NMGP have edged forward in the period since then, with studies carried out when the most enthusiastic partner – Morocco – has provided financing or secured external funds.

It would be noted that the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) recently sought expressions of interest for two new consultancy contracts on the scheme, after the Bank, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia, committed $15.5m for front-end engineering design studies in mid-2021.

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