The export of gas discovered by Mauritania could affect the future Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline

Mauritania is in a position to join the club of liquefied gas exporting countries by the end of the year, given that the export base of the “Ahmim Torti” gas project, jointly operated by Mauritania and Senegal under the supervision of the British company BP, has been completed. This fact could be at the root of Mauritania’s reticence about the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline.

Mauritanians and Senegalese are awaiting the arrival of the giant floating gas production, storage and delivery platform, which is currently en route to the Mauritanian coast from China, once it has been manufactured, built and equipped, and its technical trials completed. The process of testing its devices, building its structure and adjusting its electronic network took three and a half years. This platform is the main component of the Mauritania-Senegal gas project, in addition to the integrated development of deepwater gas mines and a range of other floating devices for natural gas transport operations.

Between 2014 and 2015, US giant Kosmos Energy discovered the Torte Ahmeim field on the maritime border between Mauritania and Senegal. The first shipments of gas to world markets are expected next year, a year behind schedule due to the impact of the Covid 19 epidemic.

Part of the consumption will be for domestic consumption in Mauritania and Senegal, and part for the international market, in particular Spain and France and possibly Germany, without excluding Morocco as a possible future customer.

Mauritania’s exploitation of the gas it has discovered may explain Nouakchott’s cool stance towards Morocco’s proposed project to link Nigeria to Morocco via a gas pipeline to supply the countries of West Africa. Since Morocco proposed the gas pipeline project, Mauritania has shown no interest in it, either officially or in the press. Mauritanian politicians questioned the Moroccan proposal for a gas pipeline project at a time when Mauritania was discovering gas.

The quantities of gas discovered in Mauritania are not comparable to Nigeria’s reserves, but it is clear that Nouakchott is cool towards the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline. Relations between Morocco and Mauritania are going through an unexpected crisis, one of the manifestations of which is the non-visit to Morocco of Mauritanian President Al-Ghazwani and the visit of Mauritanian King Mohammed VI.

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