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EU supports Nigerian gas pipeline to Europe

The EU is ready to support the financing of a €5.3 billion ($7 billion) pipeline to carry gas from Nigeria to Europe, as the bloc seeks to diversify its sources of energy.

„Absolutely, we're ready, not only to ensure security of supply, also because we support the development of Africa's energy infrastructure,” EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told reporters on Saturday after a meeting with Algeria's Energy Minister Chakib Khelil in the western Algerian city of Oran. The 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) pipeline would run from the delta of the Niger River, in southern Nigeria, across the African state of Niger to Algeria and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain, with possibly a branch going to Italy, Khelil said in an interview last month.

African producers are increasing investments in gas projects as Europe seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Algeria is Africa's largest gas producer and Nigeria is the continent's largest oil producer. A study done by London-based Penspen Ltd. showed that the pipeline, to be called NigAl, is feasible and could be completed by 2015, Khelil said in October. The pipeline would have a capacity of 8 billion cubic meters a year, which could be tripled if neighboring Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso sign gas-supply agreements, the Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach said last year. Algeria is already sending gas to Italy and Spain through two pipelines across the Mediterranean. The North African state is in the process of building two new pipelines to the two European nations. (Bloomberg)