By OBAFEMI OREDEIN
The Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project is now under review to determine its viability due to recent developments in the global natural gas industry and the collapse of gas prices, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said.
Nigeria and Algeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2002 for the 4,000 km gas pipeline to carry gas from Nigeria's Niger Delta region through the Republic of Niger to Algeria's Beni Saf export terminal on the Mediterranean Sea. The bulk of the gas would be destined for European markets.
In an opening address at the Infrastructure Summit of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr. Jonathan said the initial preparatory work for the project was under way, adding that the project was now under review to determine its viability due to recent global gas industry developments and the drop in gas prices, according to a statement from his office in Abuja.
Mr. Jonathan arrived in South Africa for a state visit and addressed that country's parliament.
Oil and natural gas have been discovered in more African countries such as Ghana, Mozambique, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, and in Europe, while the United States is experiencing an oil and gas boom due to production from its shale deposits, leading to a decline in natural gas prices.
Apart from a complete collapse of gas prices, experts say the Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline, if completed, will be prone to attacks from terrorists and armed gangs operating in West, Central and North Africa, and it won't be a reliable source of gas supply to its customers.
President Jonathan didn't say when the review would be completed.