President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday in Addis Ababa announced that Nigeria has mobilised 700 million dollars to support the completion of Nigeria-Algeria gas pipeline project.
Jonathan made this known in a report on the status of the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project, presented at the 30th meeting of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee.
Represented by the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri, Jonthan renewed the special commitment of Nigeria to jump start the project, which has an estimated cost of 20 billion dollars.
He said the immediate focus for Nigeria was to connect major gas supply sources in the Niger Delta region through pipeline infrastructure that traverses the northern half of the country and delivers gas to the Nigeria/Niger border.
"We have raised $450 million in Eurobonds and an additional direct equity contribution of about $250m in support of this project.
"The NNPC, which is the executor of this project has completed the concept design for the pipeline, which is an important milestone since I last provided an update on this project to the committee".
The report by the president noted that work had begun in the acquisition of Rights of Way survey of key segments of the pipeline, while work on the environmental impact assessment study of the pipeline would soon commence.
Jonathan informed the NEPAD meeting, chaired by President Macky Sall of Senegal, that the front end design of the pipeline would be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2014.
"This will be followed closely by major construction activities on the Trans-Nigeria segment.
"It is our expectation and aspiration that work on the Trans-Nigeria segment will be completed, as planned, by 2018".
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the $20 billion trans-saharan project, when completed will transport about
30 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Warri through Niger Republic to Algeria and to Spain and Europe.
The gas pipeline when completed will be operated by the NNPC and Sonatrach of Algeria, both of which will hold 90 percent shares of the equities of the project.
The national oil company of Niger Republic, SONIDEP, will hold ten per cent equity.
Jonathan also told the committee that NNPC, SONATRACH, SONIDEP, have engaged a reputable consultant to carry out the revalidation of the 2006 feasibility study of the project.
This, he said, was necessitated by recent developments in the environment and the study would be concluded by March.
"This study is part of our collective determination to ensure that robust gas supply sources and gas marked windows still exist for the project.
"Preliminary results indicate some uncertainty around the market opportunities in Europe and this is due mainly to possible intra-European gas pipeline projects from Russia that may compete with supplies from Africa".
The project is intended to integrate the economies of the region in line with NEPAD's vision to boost GDP of participating countries, create wealth and improve the living standards of people in the region. (NAN)