Niger Republic has joined Nigeria and Algeria as co-sponsors of the US$10 billion Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project, conceived in 2002 following a series of bilateral agreements between Algeria and Nigeria.
The admission of Niger Republic was announced after the meeting of the project’s steering committee in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, Tuesday.
Committee chair and Nigeria’s Minister of State for Energy (Gas), Mr. Emmanuel Odusina, recalled that the project was conceived by the two governments to achieve the integration of the economies of the sub-region, create wealth and the improve living standards of the people.
He said the admittance of Niger as a ”co-sponsor” would further provide a platform for the three countries to play a leading role in the energy development of the region.
The Minister announced that Nigeria had set aside about 13 to 15 trillion cubic feet of gas for the project, adding: “That gas is going to be obtainable from cluster five and six, it has been earmarked specifically for that project. It has nothing to do with domestic gas supply.”
Speaking on the project, Algeria’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Dr. Chakib Khelil, said the various teams working on the project had made tremendous progress.
“It is strategic and has the support of our leaders and it fits within the NEPAD programme,” he said, adding: ”We have dedicated a lot of financial and human resources to move it to this stage. We are now in a very critical stage and we move into the stage where we prepare for implementation.”
The project is billed to come stream in 2015 and last for 25 years in the first instance. “After 25 years, at the rate of off-take of about 2 billion scf per day, there is a guarantee after that 25 years. Principally, we are targeting Europe. The cost of the pipeline is about $10bn and $3bn for the gas gathering,” explained Mr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).