Nigeria in Talks With IFC for Gas Pipeline Network Funding

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is in talks with the International Finance Corporation to help fund a national gas-pipeline network to supply power stations and industries.

“We asked for a mixed basket of debt and equity financing,” Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said today in the capital, Abuja. “Over the next six months, once the front-end issues are sorted out, mobilization and implementation of the financial support and the work, as well as project advisorial and project support, will begin.”

Nigeria, the holder of Africa’s largest gas reserves of more than 187 trillion cubic feet, flares, or burns, most of the fuel it produces along with oil because it lacks the infrastructure to process it. At least $3 billion in revenue is lost annually due to flaring, according to the Petroleum Ministry.

The IFC is interested in financing the 40-inch, 683-kilometer (424-mile) Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano northern link, the primary network for the proposed trans-Saharan pipeline to Europe, Alison-Madueke said.

State-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. in July sought expressions of interest in “co-development” of the country’s northern and eastern natural gas pipeline system. The NNPC said it would prefer a funding structure of 60 percent debt and 40 percent equity for the project estimated to cost $5 billion.

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