Algeria supports trans-Saharan gas pipeline

Feb 25, 2008 01:00 AM

Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil is holding meetings with the Nigerian government in an effort to inject fresh momentum into a multibillion dollar scheme to build a gas pipeline across the Sahara.
The project, which involved the transportation of Nigerian gas more than 4,000 km to Algeria's Mediterranean coast, was approved in 2006, but faces considerable challenges, practical and political.

The estimated $ 15 bn scheme, which would deliver 2-3 bn cfpd of gas, is being developed by a consortium of Algerian state oil company Sonatrach and the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The proposed pipeline will begin in Brass in south Nigeria, and pass through Niger to Beni Saf on the Algeria coast, from where gas will be piped to Almeria in Spain.

During his visit, Khelil will meet with Olatunde Emmanuel, Nigeria's minister of state for gas. The Algerian minister will be accompanied by Sonatrach head Mohamed Meziane and the heads of the country's two new oil and gas agencies, Agence Nationale pour la Valorisation des Resources en Hydrocarbures and Agence Nationale de Controle & de Regulation des Activites dans le domaine des Hydrocarbures.
A team led by the UK's Penspen approved the technical feasibility of the project in 2006, but political instability in west Africa remains a barrier to the project.

It is also unclear whether Nigeria has sufficient incentive to pump its gas north rather than trading it as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Nigeria is the second-largest exporter of LNG in Africa, after Algeria.

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