A gas pieline agreement between Nigeria and Morocco has reportedly upset the latter’s Mahgreb neighbours, Algeria.
Algerian Minister of Energy Abdelmadjid Attar attacked the Morocco-Nigeria initiative, describing it an “imaginary political project.”
Quoted by Jeuene Independant, Attar argued that the project is inoperative due to “technical constraints.” He said that such a project would require affording a financial contribution to each of the states involved; as the pipeline route passes through many countries.
However, the Algerian official defended his country’s proposed pipeline project with Nigeria; saying that it would link the two countries via a single destination: Niger.
Nigeria and Algeria had reportedly held talks regarding the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline. The talks were held during a recent visit by Algerian foreign minister Sabri Boukadoum to Lagos; as reported by a medium, Morocco World News quoting Jeuene Independent.
“The two countries are preparing to relaunch their cooperation both politically and economically,” the news outlet reported; citing cold diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Algeria for several years.
Consequently, the sentiment in the Moroccan media is that Algeria’s recent hostile remarks is due to the fact that its own project with Nigeria is yet to see the light of day.
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Nigeria and Algeria signed an agreement on the project in 2002. A feasibility study in 2006 showed that the project is doable, but security concerns delayed its implementation. In addition to the delay; Algeria also appeared desperate due to the absence of its project from the ECOWAS meeting that ended on Thursday.
The Department of Energy and Mines of ECOWAS held a meeting on December 9-10 to discuss developments on the West Africa Gas Pipeline Extension Project (WAGPEP).
The meeting, which involves the representatives from Morocco’s National Society of Hydrocarbons and Mines of (ONHYM); also served as an opportunity for ECOWAS members to discuss synergies between WAGPEP and the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline project.
ECOWAS shared positive feedback regarding both projects.
A statement from the organization said that the projects contribute to common objectives; “which are the development of the region’s gas resources.” The projects seek to supply “clean” energy to several countries, including ECOWAS member states.
ECOWAS, ONHYM, and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are discussing a memorandum of understanding to achieve an agreement regarding the project.
However, reports in the Moroccan media indicate that this is not the first time Algeria has interfered in Morocco’s diplomatic and economic achievements. It held that Algeria consistently and actively works against Morocco; as it opposes its neighbor’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Allegations have also been levelled that Algeria also finances the Polisario Front; defending and supporting the separatists’ “independence claims” over the region.
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