“President Muhammadu Buhari and the King of Morocco are very attached to it (Nigeria-Morocco pipeline) and we think that we are going to bring it to an advanced stage,” said Nigerian Minister of Oil Timipre Sylva.
In line with the meeting between King Mohammed VI and the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari last January, in which they marked their common determination to pursue and materialize, as soon as possible, the strategic projects between the two countries, particularly Nigeria-Morocco pipeline, the young Nigerian Minister of Oil, Timipre Sylva, told The EastAfrican that his country “is building its share”.
While hoping “to extend the pipeline to Senegal and Morocco and subsequently to other North African countries”, he stressed that “Morocco shares borders with Europe. Thus, once we arrive in Morocco, we will be able to connect to their pipeline system and deliver our gas directly to Europe via pipelines ”.
Buhari considers the pipeline to be very “expensive”
In Nigeria, officials say President Buhari considers the pipeline very “expensive” to him. Femi Adesina, her media and advertising advisor, said Buhari wanted the project to succeed.
“We pledged to the nation that we will expand the essential gas infrastructure to promote the use of gas in the domestic market,” he said during the inauguration of the pipeline known as the AKK pipeline (Ajaokuta -Kaduna-Kano Editor’s note) of 614 km intended for domestic use, last week.
“These projects are fundamental in our desire to industrialize and boost the entrepreneurial spirit that is still present in our population,” said Buhari.
Ranking among the top 10 gas producing countries in the world with more than 600 trillion cubic feet, Nigeria has launched what it called the first phase of its pipeline project which targets trans-Saharan and European markets.
The construction of the AKK gas pipeline is part of the West African pipeline already in place, carrying gas from Nigeria to the Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana. The last round of the AKK project would extend it to the Sahel and to Algeria, Morocco and Europe.
The $ 2.89 billion project would take place in three phases, under a public-private construction and transfer partnership model.
But, the project faces a funding problem. Nigerians fear the project’s celebration will be short-lived, as reports indicate that it encountered funding bottlenecks in July due to the delay in securing funding from China despite the commitment of the Nigeria to the tune of $ 475 million as matching funding.
Some Nigerian officials have said they are still negotiating with China, although the Nigerian state-owned petroleum company (NNPC) has said it is exploring alternative financiers like Plan B.
Nigeria’s foreign debt is about 10 percent to the Chinese. It owes some $ 32.88 billion to external lenders, according to the debt management official. Exim Bank of China owes $ 3.4 billion.
Cui Jianchun, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, on July 22 dismissed claims that the loans were abusive, saying the two countries could benefit.
“It makes sense that when you lend money to a friend or business partner, you also think about how to get the value of the money back,” Cui said.
Nigerian Gas Company, a subsidiary of the project facilitator, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, will provide equity financing worth $ 434 million, reports Kenyan newspaper The EastAfrican.