On Thursday, Central African nations penned a deal to create a regional oil and gas pipeline network and hub infrastructures which backers say will buttress energy supply and shrink dependence on imports of refined products.
The Central African countries include; Angola 🇦🇴, Cameroon 🇨🇲, Chad 🇹🇩, Congo-Brazzaville 🇨🇬, Equatorial Guinea 🇬🇶, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) 🇨🇩 and Gabon 🇬🇦.
Most of them have little or no refining capacity and have been struggling with fuel and power shortages, worsened by the Ukraine crisis.
The project targets the construction of three multinational oil and gas pipeline systems of around 6,500 km, storage depots, liquefied natural gas terminals, at least three refineries and gas-fired power plants linking 11 countries by 2030, according to project documents seen by Reuters.
Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of OPEC member Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, told the forum ahead of the signing ceremony in Cameroon that the project was crucial to tackle energy poverty in the region.
According to him, the project was inspired by West Africa’s gas pipeline linking Nigeria 🇳🇬, Benin 🇧🇯, Togo 🇹🇬 and Ghana 🇬🇭, and the European model where Rotterdam serves as a refining and distributing hub for several countries.
“It will not be cheap, or easy, but if it is done as a collaboration, it will work,” he said, adding that the network will help get rid of trucks crisscrossing countries and boost the regional oil and gas market taking products where needed.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the project signed on Thursday by the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO), one of the backers, and the Central Africa Business Energy Forum, will give the way for feasibility studies.
According to Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of APPO, the project was one of the most ambitious energy infrastructure projects whose completion has the potential to dramatically change the economies of participating countries.
“It shall take energy from areas of abundance to areas of need within the Central African subregion. It shall integrate and energize national economies of the Central Africa subregion,” Ibrahim said.