On this occasion, Farouk Garba Said, General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Amina Benkhadra, Director General of the Moroccan Office for Hydrocarbons and Mining, highlighted in an address the content of the Morocco-Nigeria joint declaration on the implementation of the next phase of the Regional Gas Pipeline strategic project connecting gas resources from Nigeria to West African countries and Morocco.
Thus, they pointed out that the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project was conceived during the State visit of HM King Mohammed VI to Nigeria in December 2016, noting that a gas pipeline cooperation agreement was signed in Rabat on May 15, 2017, which commits both parties, NNPC and ONHYM, to jointly fund a feasibility study on the Nigeria-Morocco Pipeline Project.
"The Nigerian and Moroccan parties have worked effectively and constructively to ensure that the feasibility study for the pipeline, which is the first phase of this strategic project, is carried out by the contractor in a professional manner and in accordance with best practices,” they said, noting that "several routes have been evaluated so far. The first is an offshore route, the second is an onshore route along the coast, while the third one is a mixed route.”
The two officials said that "for economic, political, legal and security reasons, the choice was made on a combined onshore / offshore route.”
"The pipeline is approximately 5,660 km long and its CAPEX has been evaluated," they said, noting that construction will be phased and meet the growing needs of the countries and Europe over the next 25 years.
Garba Said and Benkhadra shed light, on this occasion, on the many contributions of this strategic project, including the regional collaboration between Morocco, Nigeria, Mauritania and the ECOWAS countries in order to promote trade and development to serve the mutual interest of the countries, the integration of the economies of the sub-region in line with the NEPAD objectives, the reduction of gas flaring and the diversification of energy sources, the contribution to combating desertification by using gas as a reliable and sustainable form of energy in the sub-region and creating wealth and reducing poverty through the promotion of economic growth opportunities in the sub-region.
They added that both parties have seized the opportunity of the Summit between His Majesty the King and H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari to move on to the next step of this ambitious project, where the countries crossed by the pipeline and the ECOWAS will sign Memorandums of Understanding, in addition to the validation of the volumes available for Europe by the stakeholders in Nigeria and by the NNPC and the beginning of discussions with the Turtle gas field operators off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania, and approaching European customers who are the most important potential off-takers.
The actions planned include the estimates of investment and operating costs, the completion of the economic analysis on the basis of volumes and the finalized construction hypotheses and the beginning of discussions with international banks to test their willingness to fund this project, in addition to the preparation of preliminary documents.
Farouk Garba and Amina Benkhadra also stressed that the two Heads of State insisted on the need to take into account the ecological and environmental dimension in the various stages of the project.
This project will give Africa a new economic, political and strategic dimension and place Morocco and Nigeria as two leaders of South-South Cooperation at the level of the African continent, they pointed out.
Given its strategic importance and benefits, not only for Nigeria and Morocco, but also for the countries crossed by the pipeline, NNPC and ONHYM confirm their joint commitment to carry out this project, they said.
Afterwards, HM King Mohammed VI and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, chaired the signing ceremony of three bilateral cooperation agreements.
The first agreement is a joint declaration between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the completion of the next phase of the Regional Gas Pipeline strategic project connecting gas resources from Nigeria to West African countries and Morocco, which was signed by Amina Benkhadra and Farouk Garba Said.
The second document signed is a Memorandum of Understanding between the OCP Group and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority for the development of an industrial platform in Nigeria for the production of ammonia and related products. This agreement was signed by Mostapha Terrab, CEO of OCP Group, and Uche Orji, chief executive officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
The third agreement is a cooperation agreement in the field of agricultural vocational training and technical supervision between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, and the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was signed by Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, and Audu Ogbeh, Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
These agreements, which are aimed at strengthening the legal framework governing cooperation between the two countries in the areas of agriculture and rural development, are in line with the vision of HM the King for an active South-South partnership.
This ceremony took place in the presence of Head of Government, HM the King’s advisors, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Minister Delegate in charge of African Affairs, Secretary of State in charge of Sustainable Development, as well as members of the official delegation accompanying the Nigerian President.