Nigeria gas fuels Morocco, Algeria pipeline power struggle
The renewed momentum on both projects follows months of heightened tensions between Algeria and Morocco
Arch-rivals Morocco and Algeria are racing to build a conduit pumping Nigerian gas to European markets, even as the African continent aims to wean itself off fossil fuels.
Both countries have moved to revive long-stalled projects in light of a gas supply crunch following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over a year ago. Prices surged in Europe – which was heavily reliant on Russian gas – had to look elsewhere for energy.
Rabat is hoping the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline, which would skirt the coastlines of 13 west African countries, could pump billions of meters of neutral gas to the north African kingdom. From there, the gas would flow through the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME) into Spain and Portugal.
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To the east, Morocco’s neighbor and adversary Algeria is pushing to relaunch plans for a Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline linking Nigeria to Algeria’s Mediterranean coast via Niger.
Last July, Algiers signed a memorandum of understanding with Abuja and Niamey to bring the 2,565-mile pipeline to fruition. From Algeria, the gas could be pumped via the Mediterranean undersea Transmed pipeline to Italy through Tunisia, or loaded onto liquefied natural gas tankers for export.
The renewed momentum on both projects follows months of heightened tensions between Algeria and Morocco after the collapse of a decades-old ceasefire in the Western Sahara and Morocco's normalization of ties with Israel in late 2020.