Nigeria oil minister says Russia interested in gas pipeline to Morocco

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Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva speaks during the Saudi Green Initiative Forum to discuss efforts by the world's top oil exporter to tackle climate change in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

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ABUJA, May 2 (Reuters) - Russia has expressed interest in investing in the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project that has been on the cards since 2016, Nigeria's minister of state for petroleum resources said on Monday.

Nigeria and Morocco first signed the agreement on the project in December 2016. Besides linking the two countries, the 5,660 km (3,517 miles) pipeline is also expected to connect some other African countries to Europe.

"The Russians were with me in the office last week. They are very desirous to invest in this project and there are lots of other people who are also desirous to invest in the project," Timipre Sylva told reporters in Abuja.

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"This is a pipeline that is going to take our gas all through a lot of countries in Africa and also, all the way to the edge of the African continent where we can have access to the European market as well."

Sylva said President Muhammadu Buhari's government hoped to at least kickstart the project before leaving office in May 2023. He did not say how much it will cost.

Nigeria is rich in hydrocarbons but produces little electricity, making its industries uncompetitive.

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Reporting by Felix Onuah, Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Richard Chang

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