West African nations have signed new memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in support of the Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline Project, even as other pipeline projects on the African continent come under fire because of the global priority to halt investment in gas and oil exploration and move away from fossil fuel use.
“Once completed, the project will enhance the monetization of the natural gas resources of the affected African countries and also offer a new alternative export route to Europe,” said a statement from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The regional body hosted a meeting of the project partners in Abuja.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) of Morocco signed one agreement, while the Société Nationale des Opérations Pétrolières of Cote d’Ivoire (PETROCI) and the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) signed another. Also signing an MOU were the oil and gas agencies of Benin and Guinea.
All participating nations on the pipeline project were present, including Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania.
Sédiko Douka, the ECOWAS energy commissioner, said the gas pipeline project is significant as it will help strengthen the region’s electricity production and capacity, stimulating industrial and agricultural development. The project also will “contribute to the energy transition by using a source of energy that is cleaner than other fossil fuels.”
Europeans have turned to Africa for alternative sources to Russian fuels. However, investors and partners are increasingly stepping back from fossil fuel projects in Africa, as has been the case with the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.
Some African economies, Nigeria’s among them, rely heavily on the sector but may not be able to do so in the face of a climate future that phases out oil and gas resources.