Nigeria-Morocco investment decision in early 2025 indicates progress amid geopolitical shifts

(MENAFN) Amina Benkhadra, Director of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Minerals in Morocco, revealed during the Africa Energy Investment Conference in Paris that the final decision regarding investment in the natural gas pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco is anticipated to be made in early 2025. This announcement comes after December 2024 was initially earmarked as the deadline for issuing the decision. Benkhadra emphasized the ongoing preparations for the final investment verdict, signaling a slight delay in the timeline previously envisaged.

Addressing stakeholders at the conference, Benkhadra highlighted significant progress made towards securing partnerships for the project, including an agreement with a prominent European gas operator. The operator has committed to purchasing all gas exports through the proposed Morocco-Europe pipeline upon its connection. Benkhadra underscored the invitation extended to various types of investors, including foreign sovereign funds, international oil companies, and multilateral banks, to participate in the project. She emphasized the collaborative approach between the public and private sectors in driving the initiative forward.

Benkhadra emphasized the technical and financial viability of the pipeline project, asserting its competitiveness compared to liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation. The pipeline's potential to offer a reliable and cost-effective means of gas transportation aligns with the European Union's efforts to diversify its gas supply and reduce reliance on Russian imports by 2027, a response to geopolitical tensions arising from the conflict in Ukraine.

Nigeria's abundant gas reserves position it as a key player in the global energy market, yet the country faces challenges in attracting investment to develop its gas sector. The project to export Nigerian gas to Europe via a pipeline traversing the Sahara desert faced uncertainty following a military coup in Niger last year, highlighting the complexities associated with large-scale energy infrastructure projects in the region. Nonetheless, stakeholders remain optimistic about the potential of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline to enhance regional energy cooperation and contribute to economic development in both countries.



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