Nigeria and key North African nations are spearheading investment in gas infrastructure to move gas to markets in Europe.
The head of Algerian state-owned oil firm Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, announced that technical studies on the future construction of a trans-Saharan gas pipeline had been completed, and Algiers was preparing for talks with Nigeria and Niger on the pipeline construction.
A report by Algerian daily El-Jaza’ir, Hakkar made the announcement during an interview with National Radio Channel One, noting that a route for the line had been selected.
A pipeline transiting the massive Sahara Desert has been proposed since the 1970s, but was judged prohibitively expensive and faced opposition on a number of fronts, including environmental groups in the Niger River Delta, as well as the danger of militant attacks against construction crews and the completed pipeline.
If completed, it would create a new connection between gas sources in Nigeria and markets in Europe, via Algeria’s own gas lines that extend deep into the desert.
Hakkar cautioned that “the decision to launch such an investment” would depend heavily on the price of the gas it would carry, noting that since 2010, the price had fallen from 10 dollars per thermal unit to less than 1 dollar in 2020.
Mohamed Arkab, Algeria’s Minister of energy and mines, recently noted Algiers would pay “special attention” to the “rapid” embodiment of the project, “which will give a new impetus to the relations between our two countries in terms of technical cooperation and capacity strengthening.”
“This project will have important social and economic results in the transit countries, within the framework of environmental protection and sustainable development,” Arkab added.