Africa Atlantic Gas Pipeline on track

Algeria is doing everything to derail the project, especially using its influence in Africa, but Nigeria is more determined than ever to move forward with its gas pipeline project with Morocco, a reference Where the stake in gas is central to not only African but international news.

It was the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources himself, named Timipre Silva, who spilled the beans. Speaking to the local press in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria this Monday, May 2, 2022, the person concerned revealed that “Russian [étaient] very keen to invest in [le] The Atlantic Africa Gas Pipeline project continues on its way across twelve West African countries to connect Nigerian gas fields to Morocco and from there possibly to Europe.

“There are many other entities also who want to invest in this project,” he assured, “OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) [était] also interested in the project and [avait] expressed interest. Nearly six years after King Mohammed VI laid it on the table during his visit to Nigeria in early December 2016, is it time for the Afrika Atlantic to solidify?

Algerian gas alternative
A question that arises even more in the week before Mr Silva’s announcement, at least two announcements were added to the news of the project: the first, dated 26 April 2022, was due to Australian engineering consultancy firm WorleyParsons and reports that the latter had won a contract to provide core services for initial technical design, known in jargon as FEED (for Front-End Engineering Design); Whereas four days later, the Ministry of Economy made public the signing with the OPEC Fund for International Development of a legal document related to the financing of the alleged FEED (which supports Mr. Silva’s statements). with respect to OPEC interest).

The $14.3 million adds to the $29.75 million similarly provided in December 2021 by the Islamic Development Bank (EIB) and makes it possible to meet the $45 million that contributes to FEED’s funding to the Kingdom of Morocco, also Nigeria to assume the same amount of budget (for a total of $90 million, including contributions from both sides). This implies that things are progressing really well, even though it should be noted that according to the most realistic estimates it could take up to twenty five years for the project to see daylight and we are talking, In this case, a long-term consideration: we must therefore ignore that it is an immediate alternative to Algerian gas, to which Morocco no longer has access as of November 1, 2021, and Algeria’s decision not to renew the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline. The Decision, passing through the Moroccan region, connects neighboring countries to the east and north, in this case Spain, on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar.

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Incidentally, Mr. Silva indicated in his above outing that the current Nigerian “administration” could not “complete the Moroccan-Nigeria gas pipeline, but [que] We can at least get him to the starting point before he leaves” (The next Nigerian presidential election is due at the end of February 2023 and on this occasion the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari will not be able to run for a third term. In May 2015, the Nigerian Constitution its does not allow). It will also be necessary for the parties to come and put their hands in their pockets. “We have not yet completely finished a financial arrangement. Many people are showing interest. There is a lot of international interest in this project, There is investor interest, but we haven’t really identified the investors we want to work with,” Mr. Silva acknowledged at this point. But it must also be said that the enthusiasm that the African Atlantic is getting more and more is not insignificant and in fact the project could benefit more from the favorable international context, mainly due to the ongoing invasion since February 24, 2022. With. From Ukraine by Russia.

Russian interests
Thus, in the wake of this invasion, we have seen that many European countries are beginning to look for alternatives to Russian gas, for example, Germany is dependent on up to 55% of its gas imports, and so it is in the logic of things Africa to the Atlantic. Now seen in a better light. We can also ask ourselves the question of why and how Russia is interested in the gas pipeline, given that its construction would reduce its power of influence in Europe (Eurasian countries, thus, very well) was looking at) the overturning of the Nabucco gas pipeline, which was to go from Iran to Central Europe, then the Turkish Stream, for the benefit of the South Stream, two partly Russian gas pipeline projects), but also the fact that it would run along the Trans-Saharan. , a gas pipeline project through which its Algerian ally hopes to connect to Nigeria via Niger and pass through an area of ​​30 billion cubic meters of additional gas.

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Even though nothing has been found on the ground since the signing of a related agreement in early July 2009, the Trans-Saharan, in this respect, is still relevant to Algeria and has additionally been laid back on the carpet on 17 February. . , 2022, by the Algerian Minister of Energy, Mohamed Arkab, during a working visit to Niger that coincided with Mr. Silva’s presence in the country (with his Nigerian counterpart, Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, M/s. Arkab and Silva, on this On this occasion, a Joint Declaration was signed validating a roadmap for the development of the gas pipeline).

Moroccan-Nigerian partnership
Whether it is Russia or not, we must certainly see, as Mr. Silva announced, other entities join the adventure. So we are definitely thinking about European countries, but we must not forget about the United States, which is currently doing everything so that the said countries no longer supply gas but also get oil and coal from Russia Even if that means lifting its sanctions compared to Venezuela, and which has also been successful in abandoning Germany after the invasion of Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has already been finalized in September 2021 and which Berlin intended to use to obtain an additional 110. billion cubic meters of Russian gas.

Which the United States has also come very close to, as we know, Morocco in the wake of its recognition of state sovereignty over the Sahara since December 2020, which brings us back to the primary geopolitical dimension of Atlantic Africa, from which the project This was done in the context of a return to continental bodies by King Mohammed VI and in this case by the African Union (AU) at the end of January 2017: by the way, without including the so-called “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic” (SADR) by the southern provinces. Self-proclaimed by the separatist movement of the Polisario Front, the gas pipeline consolidates their support for Morocco in Africa, while also reinforcing Morocco’s anchor in the west of the continent.

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Overall, the new Moroccan-Nigerian partnership, which resulted in the establishment of a fertilizer production platform involving the OCP Group at a total cost of $3.6 billion, has contributed greatly to “neutralizing” the Nigerian question. The Moroccan Sahara, where it continues, of course, to recognize the “SADR”, but is no longer active in its secession, for example during the time of former President Olusegun Obasanjo (who established the separatist unit in September 2000). was enabled in) an “embassy” in Abuja).

On the Nigerian side, in addition to being able to access new markets, the preference for Atlantic Africa stems from a desire to gain a new dominance over the rest of the West African countries (which in addition enjoy more of a title in the economic sphere). are) level, with additional income from gas pipeline way rights), following the example of Russia, mentioned above, in comparison to Europe, which cannot allow it trans-Saharan, as stated is limited to three countries: when during his meeting with Mr. Arkab in Niger, Mr. Silva said he was in favor, it sounded like a diplomatic remark, given that Nigeria has Currently two do not have the means to commit to such a large gas. pipeline at the same time. Also, no FEED has been started yet to implement it, even though we are talking about Horizon 2027 to complete the Trans-Saharan, still 4,128 km (5,560 km for Atlantic Africa) than) to be built, and Mr. Buhari wanted to visit Morocco in June 2018 to sign an official agreement with King Mohammed VI.

Africa Atlantic can only benefit from the support of the international community as a whole, as its impact on Africa already promises to be amazing. When is the first draw cost?


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