Gas now weapon of war in Europe, cash cow for Africa – Sylva

From Uche Usim, Abuja

Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has charged hydrocarbon-rich African nations to urgently harness their huge gas reserves to close the widening energy gulf created by the lingering Russia-Ukraine hostilities, where gas is being used as a weapon of war.

Sylva gave the admonition in Abuja on Monday at a Ministerial meeting on the reactivation of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP), which involves Nigeria, Niger Republic and Algeria.

According to him, the project remains important to Nigerians because it would be a huge revenue generator and clean energy source while symbolising regional integration and an opportunity for the continent to occupy a special position in the global energy market.

He said the project needs to move quickly to realisation, having been on the drawing board for quite a while.

He said: “With what is happening in the global energy market, we need to take our gas to Europe. Gas is now a weapon of war between Ukraine and Russia.

Let’s not waste time. We need to fast-track it. It was meant to start from the south of Nigeria to the end of Nigeria, which is the AKK pipeline already under construction.

“Then from Nigeria to Algeria through the Niger Republic. We as Africans can show the world that we can come together to boost regional integration which the world wants to see. Funders of this project have shown interest in investing in it. We can grow our reserves up to 600 TCF in Nigeria.

“Algeria is also a gas nation, likewise Niger. We can harness these resources and fast track the project as quickly as possible”.

Also speaking, the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Mohamed Arkab hailed an earlier meeting held in Niamey in February where a declaration was signed by the three parties and an implementation roadmap agreed on.

“This is indeed a tangible sign of the willingness of all of us to move further on the TSGP project, with the aim of launching the update on its feasibility studies.

“TSGP will have a significant and positive impact on the

socio-economic development of our countries. The reactivation of the TSGP project takes place in a particular geopolitical and energy context, marked by strong demand for gas and oil, on the one hand, and by a stagnant supply due to the drop in oil and gas investments, started in 2015, on the other hand.

“This situation has been induced by the successive financial crises and the climate agenda, aimed at achieving carbon neutrality in the short term, without taking into account at achieving specificities of each continent and each country.

“While being fully part of the project aimed at decarbonizing the oil and gas industry in short term, and at achieving carbon neutrality in the longer term, we remain convinced that a global and efficient energy transition cannot take place without the contribution of hydrocarbons”, he explained.

In his remarks, Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, the Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of Niger recalled the Niamey meeting, where participating nations agreed to collaborate on the project.

“I know we can realise this project especially when we see what the world expects from us. I encourage all sponsors to remain committed to this project,” he said.

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