Atlantic Gas Pipeline Project Heads towards Materialization

The Morocco-Nigeria landmark project to lay an Atlantic gas pipeline that will carry Nigerian gas through six West African countries up to Morocco and eventually to Europe is heading towards materialization with the signing Monday of new agreements related to the project.
The agreements were signed in Rabat under the chairmanship of King Mohammed VI and in the presence of Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
The pipeline venture is one of the milestone projects spearheaded by King Mohammed VI, whose vision for cooperation with Africa is underpinned by co-development, exchange of expertise, and a win-win partnership, the ultimate goal being the continent’s integration.
The Atlantic Gas Pipeline, to stretch over 4000km, will extend the existing West African Gas Pipeline that currently transports Nigerian gas to Ghana, up to the Mediterranean shore, going through Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania.
According to estimates, the project will cost more than $10 billion and Arab financial institutions, which held their annual meeting in Rabat last April, have been invited to get involved in the pipeline project, a model of South-South cooperation.
The involvement of Arab financial institutions could accelerate the timetable of this mega project.
The first agreements on the pipeline were signed by the two countries’ sovereign wealth funds during the King’s visit to Abuja early December 2016.
Shortly after returning home, the King held a meeting in Casablanca by mid-December with senior Nigerian officials to examine the implementation of the project. Agreements on feasibility studies were then sealed.
The pipeline will have a beneficial impact on Morocco, which will thus diversify its energy mix and reduce dependence on Algerian gas, and on Nigeria, which harbors 30% of the continent’s gas reserves but whose production remains largely untapped. The entire West African region will also draw benefits from the project regarding its energy independence and security and its electrification efforts. In addition to that, the pipeline will spur West African states’ efforts to preserve security in the region
The Nigeria-Morocco pipeline will have a positive impact on over 300 million inhabitants, as it will speed up electrification projects across West Africa, and serve as a basis for the creation of a competitive electricity regional market, said Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, during the Monday ceremony.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said the conclusion of these agreements, only few months after the royal visit to Nigeria, evidences the success of the Rabat-Abuja partnership.
The pipeline-related agreements were initialed by CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Kacalla Baru, and the director general of the Moroccan Office for Hydrocarbons and Mining, Amina Benkhadra.
Another agreement was signed during the ceremony between the Moroccan state-owned phosphates OCP group and the Fertilizers Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN).
FEPSAN President Thomas Ethu underlined that cooperation with OCP group helped, in a first phase, to transfer know-how on the commodity blending, storage and transportation.
CEO of OCP group Mostafa Terrab said that the partnership concluded between Morocco and Nigeria is a model of south-south cooperation.
It concerns the entire agricultural value chain, mainly the setting up of fertilizing solutions that are adapted to the Nigerian soil and cultivation, Terrab said.
During the King’s visit to Abuja, the two sides signed an agreement under which OCP would build a fertilizers factory in Nigeria.
This cooperation will enable to maximize local fertilizer production, through the creation of a platform for basic chemical products, secure fertilizer supply at competitive prices and reinforce local distribution channels, and help thus Nigeria forge ahead with its agricultural development plan.
The Nigerian Foreign Minister acknowledged that thanks to Morocco’s fertilizer and phosphate resources, “We are now on the way to build a strong agricultural infrastructure”.

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