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IDB, OPEC may fund trans Sahara gas project as final investment decision expected in 2023

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ECOWAS has brought its support for the Morocco-gas pipeline with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to speed up the achievement of this structural project that will help meet West Africa’s energy needs and offer an infrastructure for exporting West African gas.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in Rabat this Thursday by head of Morocco’s hydrocarbons and mines agency (ONHYM), CEO of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the ECOWAS.

The NMGP is a 5,600km gas pipeline project, traversing 13 African countries, which, when completed will provide gas from Nigeria to the West African countries up to the Kingdom of Morocco and subsequently to Europe.

Once completed, the project will supply about three billion standard cubic feet of gas per day along the West African coast from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania to Morocco.

Speaking at the event, ONHYM head Amina Benkhadra said the project is tailored to benefit coastal West African countries as well as landlocked countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

“The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to finance the project and brought OPEC funding on board,” she said.

The pipeline will reduce gas flaring and curb desertification, she said, adding that the current deal with the ECOWAS confirms the commitment of all the regional grouping’s member countries.

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Echoing her, head of NNPC Mele Kayri said the project is the fruit of the vision of King Mohammed VI and President Mohammed Buhari who both agreed to launch this structural project in 2016.

A final investment decision for the project is expected to be made in 2023, according to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Kyari.

Countries of West Africa are “focused on delivering this project,” he said.

ECOWAS energy, infrastructure and digitalization Sediko Douka said the project comes at the right time to meet the region’s energy challenges.

He mentioned, in particular, the project’s consistency with ECOWAS efforts to boost electrification adding that his organization “will spare no effort for its completion.”

Once completed, the pipeline will have a beneficial impact on the lives of 400 million people in the region through ensuring steady access to gas for power.

The pipeline will originate from Brass Island (Nigeria) and terminates at North of Morocco, where it will be connected to the existing Maghreb European Pipeline that originates from Algeria (via Morocco), all the way to Spain.

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