May 25, 2024

ECOWAS sanctions on Niger, stall 40-Year-Old Trans-Saharan gas pipeline deal

 

Oredola Adeola

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has frozen all service transactions, including energy transactions, between ECOWAS and Niger following the coup in Niger that led to the removal of  President Muhammed Bazoum as democratically elected President. 

 The decision was reached during an extraordinary summit convened by ECOWAS in response to the July  coup d’etat in Niger. 

 The freeze includes the assets of the Republic of Niger in Aqua Central Bank and the assets of the Niger State and state enterprises and parastatals in ECOWAS central and commercial banks

 Additionally, the bloc has closed air and land borders with Niger and imposed a travel ban and asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup

ECOWAS has threatened to use force to reinstate Niger’s Bazoum as President if the coup leaders do not cede power within one week. 

 

EnergyDay’s check showed that the decision to freeze energy transaction in the region linked to Niger has significant impacts on the  Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) that is expected to connect Nigeria’s Warri hydrocarbon fields to Algeria’s Hassi R’Mel feeder hub on the Mediterranean coast through Niger Republic. 

In June 2022, the energy ministers of Algeria, Niger, and Nigeria revived the project and signed a memorandum of understanding to build the pipeline.

The talks on the revival of the project were held recently between the three countries have set up a task force for the project, on the sideline of the European Union plan to wean itself off Russian gas following the invasion of Ukraine, and is seeking alternative sources.

However, the ECOWAS sanctions on Niger have put the TSGP deal on hold, and the future of the project remains uncertain

 

The possible sanction and military actions by ECOWAS against the coup leaders, General Abdourahamane Tiani and his men, is likely to further extend the delay in the progress of the project which was first proposed more than 40 years ago, and an agreement signed between the countries in 2009.

 

Experts says that the decision to freeze all service transactions, including energy transactions, between ECOWAS and Niger will delay the project’s progress and have significant impacts on the economies of the countries involved.
The freezing of energy transactions and the threat of force demonstrate the seriousness with which ECOWAS views the coup in Niger and its determination to restore democratic governance. It remains to be seen how this situation will be resolved and when the project will resume.