An ambitious plan to build a natural gas pipeline from Nigeria across the Sahara Desert to supply Europe has been discussed at a conference in Brussels with banks, international donor agencies and other prospective investors taking part. It is possible the European Union might pay some of the 9.5 billion euro cost.
EU Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs is enthusiastic. He told conference participants: “The diversification of suppliers and routes is a key part of the EU energy supply security strategy. At the same time I would like to emphasise that I am convinced that the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline could constitute a promising supply route and source for the EU.”
The pipeline would run almost 4,300 kilometres, from the volatile and violence plagued Niger Delta to the Algerian coast. Algeria currently exports liquefied gas across the Mediterranean from ports in the east and west of the country and plans a pipeline to Sardinia in Italy.
The three countries involved with the Trans-Sahara pipeline – Nigeria, Niger and Algeria – have already had feasibility studies carried out which found the project feasible technically and economically. The money could come from European governments and gas companies facing declining domestic supplies from areas like the North Sea and worried about an increasing reliance on gas from Russia.