Morocco’s King, Mohamed VI is throwing his weight behind a massive gas pipeline which
will skirt the entire west African coastline and could even be the new supplier that EU countries have
been looking for.
His Majesty King Mohammed VI said on November 6th that the Nigeria – Morocco Gas Pipeline
project, intended for present and future generations, “works in favor of peace, the economic
integration of the African continent and its common development”.
But he also gave a glimpse into the bigger plan that he has been mulling, which is to become a supplier to EU countries.
“In view of the continental dimension of the Nigeria – Morocco Gas Pipeline, we also see it as a
structuring project promising to link Africa and Europe”, he said in a speech to the nation.
EU and US officials have recently been trying to pull Algeria away from the clutches of Russian
influence and become a supplier of oil and gas. But their efforts have largely backfired, pushing
Algiers closer to Russia and China with the former announcing a huge arms deal and the latter a
trade deal both in the last few days.
EU leaders barely gave a look at Morocco, neighbouring Algeria, which until now has no oil and gas
reserves. But Morocco being a main supplier to the EU is entirely possible with this new deal.
Morocco, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Senegal signed a series of memorandums on 15 October on a
megaproject to deliver Nigerian gas along all the West African coastal countries to Morocco. When
fully constructed, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project would be the longest offshore pipeline in
the world, linking all 11 countries between Morocco and Nigeria, the project’s two
main country investors.
The pipeline was conceived in 2016 by the two countries for boosting economic integration and
development, and for improving energy security to countries in the Western African region, including
the landlocked Niger and Burkina Faso. The pipeline would allow for the transport of more than 5000
billion cubic meters of Algerian gas to Morocco, with the potentiality of diverting the gas via the
existing Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline to Spain and other European countries. Algeria possesses the
largest gas reserves in Africa and has promoted itself as a reliable gas supplier to Europe. However,
the strategic value for Europe in its current search for alternatives to Russian energy is tempered by
the expectation that the project could take 25 years to complete.
The project has received $60 million from the Islamic Development Bank and OPEC Fund for
International Development to finance feasibility and engineering studies. The project’s final price tag
is not yet determined. International and regional financial institutions have expressed strong
interests in the project, including Russia. The selection of partners is currently underway.