Algeria, Nigeria and Niger have signed a memorandum of understanding on construction of a vast gas pipeline project offering Europe potential future alternatives to Russian supplies.
The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) would transport billions of cubic metres of gas some 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles) from Nigeria in West Africa, north through Niger and on to Algeria, according to a joint statement released by the three countries on Thursday evening, July 28.
The statement says the gas could be pumped through the Mediterranean undersea Transmed pipeline to Italy, or loaded onto liquefied natural gas tankers for export.
Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab hosted Timipre Sylva and Mahamane Sani, his counterparts from Nigeria and Niger for talks on the project, Algerian state news agency APS reported.
The long-dormant project created in 2009 has galvanized more interest in recent months as gas prices have surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
When the TSGP was first proposed in 2009, the cost of building it was estimated at $10 billion.
As well as serving European markets, gas could be diverted to serve markets along the route of the pipeline or elsewhere in the Sahel region but the TSGP would face formidable logistical and security challenges, passing through thousands of kilometres of desert where jihadist groups have waged a long insurgency.
Algeria is Africa’s largest natural gas exporter. The North African country has already seen increased demand following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with Western nations scouring the globe to find supplies to replace oil and gas from Russia.