Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline: NNPC, ONHYM, sign MoU with Ghana, Gambia, three other West African countries

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and  Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) have signed separate Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the national oil companies and commercial entities of Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone, in respect of the proposed Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline  (NMGP) project

The signing ceremony held on Monday in Rabat, Morocco, was attended by Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL; Dr. Amina Benkhadra, General Director of Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM)  and representatives of the other  West African countries.

The NNPC on September 15, 2022, alongside the Moroccan national oil company, signed an MoU with the ECOWAS Commission, after signing a similar MoU with Petrosen of Senegal and SMH of Mauritania.

Mallam Kyari, in his comments shortly after signing the MoU, highlighted the roles played by the participating countries to make the planned commencement of the project to fruition.

He revealed that Africa stands to benefit immensely from the execution of the project which extends beyond the supply of gas to energize the countries along the route.

According to him, other benefits include the creation of wealth and improvement in the standard of living of our citizenry, increased cooperation between our countries while mitigating desertification, and other benefits to be derived from a reduction in carbon emissions.

The GCEO described natural gas as a critical fuel in the transition toward net zero. He said, “Gas will support the establishment of baseload energy capacity, stabilization of the grid to allow for integration of renewables at scale and addressing our clean cooking fuel deficit in the form of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“This, therefore, presents the opportunity of commercialising significant natural gas in the short to long term,” he explained.

Kyari further noted  that NNPCL is well positioned to progress the NMGP project by leveraging its experience and technical capabilities ranging from gas production , processing, transmission and marketing as well as its vast experience in executing major gas infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

The GCEO NNPCL, “NNPCL will facilitate the continuous supply of gas and provide other enablers such as the required land for the first compressor station to be deployed in Nigeria, which is among the thirteen stations earmarked along the pipeline route.

“From inception of the project to this stage, concerted efforts have been made by the governments of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco, which led to the very commendable achievements recorded thus far,” Kyari said.

In their respective speeches, the representatives of the West African countries reiterated the commitment of their countries toward making the NMGP project a reality.

Mrs. Sylvia Assiment Archer, the GM Commercial / Legal Advisor of Ghana Gas who described the MoU signing as historic, said the occasion was of monumental significance to her organisation in its quest to bring nations and communities together throughout its operations.

According to Mr. Baboucarr Njie, Managing Director of Gambia’s GNPC, his country’s search for hydrogen is encouraged by the recent discoveries in neighbouring Senegal and Mauritania and the opportunity presented by the NMGP Project will tremendously boost their chances to discover natural gas in The Gambia.

For Mr. Foday B.L Mansaray, the General Director, PDSL of Sierra Leone, his country was excited about the opportunities inherent in the NMGP partnership which he said has reinforced the virtues of greater collaboration that will further develop the African continent.

In his remarks, Mr Celedonio Placido Viera, the General Director of PETROGUIN of Guinea Bissau said his country was glad to be involved in the NMGP project because it would boost the livelihood and economies of the countries across the continent.

The NMGP is a 5,600km gas pipeline project traversing 13 African countries namely Nigerian, Benin, Togo , Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania to Morocco.

It’s a 48-inch X 5,300 Km, offshore from Brass Island-Nigeria to Dakhla-Morocco) and 56” X 1,700 Km, onshore from Dakhla-Morocco, with a total length of over 7,000 Km and about 13 compressor stations.

Once completed, the project will supply about three billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (3bscf/d) along the West African Coast from Nigeria to the West African countries and terminate at the north of Morocco, from where it would be connected to the existing Maghreb European Pipeline (MEP) that originates from Algeria, via Morocco to Spain.

According to the agreement the project was aimed at monetisation of Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources, thereby generating additional revenue for the country, diversification of Nigeria’s gas export routes and elimination of gas flaring.