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Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline: What it Means for West Africa

GAS PIPELINE

The aim of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline – set to run from Nigeria’s resource-rich fields in the Warri region through Niger and to the town of Hassi R’Mel in Algeria – is to connect regional African and European markets via the Mediterranean coast. Poised to deliver 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, the 4,128-km pipeline will leverage a large regional network of oil pipelines in West and North Africa, including the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline and Medgaz Gas Pipeline.

The $13-billion pipeline presents strong economic opportunities for Nigeria, Algeria and Niger, enabling these countries to tap into gas-hungry European markets while monetizing their respective natural resources. According to the African Energy Chamber’s State of African Energy 2023 report, Nigeria and Algeria – along with Egypt – are poised to serve as the primary drivers of gas supplies to Europe in the coming years, and already account for approximately 80% of Africa’s total gas production.

With the establishment of a dedicated task force and roadmap for the project’s development already in place, the pipeline is expected to commence operations by 2030. The project will be built and operated through a partnership between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach, and will be owned by NNPC, Sonatrach, and Italian power engineering company, Ansaldo Energia.

The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline is well-positioned to facilitate not only regional gas exports, but also broader collaboration and investment among European and African energy stakeholders. African gas supplies to Europe will be a key topic of discussion at this year’s Invest in African Energy forum in Paris – taking place on May 14-15 – where industry experts and policymakers are set to collaborate on new avenues for energy diversification and regional integration.

Despite recording a declining rate in LNG production since 2021, Nigeria is well-positioned to leverage the planned pipeline to satisfy rocketing European demand for gas, following supply shortages as a result of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Meanwhile, the infrastructure project is also poised to enable Niger – which currently produces 20,000 barrels of oil per day – to monetize its sizable recoverable gas resources, estimated at 34 billion cubic meters.

The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline has the potential to increase energy security in West Africa by ensuring supply and reducing its reliance on imported gas. Furthermore, regional and local access to natural gas networks in the region is poised to reduce supply disruptions and price volatility, directly benefiting the local population.

IAE 2024 is an exclusive forum designed to foster collaboration between European investors and African energy markets. Taking place May 14-15, 2024, in Paris, the event offers delegates two days of intensive engagement with industry experts, project developers, investors, and policymakers. For more information, click here.