$10bn Niger-Europe gas project on way
Abuja, July 4, 2009
Three African countries have signed an accord to build a $10 billion trans-Saharan gas pipeline linking vast reserves in Nigeria to Europe.
The project will convey gas destined for the European market more than 4,000 km from the Niger Delta in Nigeria, via Niger and Algeria.
The head of Nigeria's state oil company, Mohammed Barkindo, said the agreement 'gives this project the official stamp of approval from the three governments, directing the national oil companies of these three countries to begin in earnest the definitional phase of this project.'
Petroleum and Energy Ministers Rilwan Lukman of Nigeria, Chakib Khalib of Algeria and Mohammed Abdullahi of Niger signed the agreement in Abuja. The first delivery of gas is scheduled in 2015.
'A market opportunity of about 15-20 billion cu mt exists for the TSGP (Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline) as from the year 2015,' Lukman, also a former Opec chief, was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
'Now that this agreement is in place... we will be talking with prospective partners who might be interested in going to bed with us on this project,' Lukman added.
No date was announced for the start of construction.
But Lukman said the next step will be to establish the appropriate commercial, fiscal, legal and technical options ahead of the final investment decision.
Already the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has expressed an interest in the venture. Last week Gazprom signed an agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) establishing a 50-50 joint venture in oil, gas processing and transportation. It plans to invest $2.5 billion in a series of projects in Nigeria.
Gazprom plans to build at a cost of between $400-$500 million a 360 km gas pipeline running from south to the north. It will be the first trunk pipeline to become part of the Trans Saharan gas pipeline, Gazprom International's chief Boris Ivanov said last week. – TradeArabia News Service