German Govt. Moves To Partner With Nigeria Over Gas Supply

By Lateef Adegbite

When the Russia Energy Company, Gazprom, at the instance of Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, who has the backing of the Kremlin to cut off gas  supply  via  the Nord  stream pipeline  over alleged malfunctions of a turbine in late 2022, to Germany, Italy and other European countries.

 Olaof  Scholz, Germany , Chancellor , knew his country was in deep trouble. The Germany Chancellor has every reason to worry because the country needs considerable amount of gas for heating the homes  and  power the industries. It was a matter of time for the inherent problems to begin to manifest in the country. This may have informed why Scholz, the Germany Chancellor had to look for alternative reliable gas partners that would take the place of Russia, which over the years   had been the major supplier and long been a boon to industries in the country. It was not surprising why European union, EU, member country, based companies operate at lower costs and gain competitiveness.

Recall that the EU, which had imposed various economic sanctions against Russian for invading Ukraine early last year with its serious economic implications. This is because the Russian government in retaliation ‘’ demanded that all gas shipments to the western importers be paid in Russian roubles’’.  The EU, may have seen the Russian government demand for payment of gas shipment in roubles as a ploy to use natural gas   as a tool to influence the Union policy makers.  The Western importers which never found the Russia demand funny were said to have refused to accept the offer, insisting that they will not accept a change to the existing contracts for gas supply that stipulate other currencies.

 Note that natural gas delivery to Germany, particular, from Russia, accounts for about 27% of its total energy consumption in the first quarter of 2022, for heating of homes and power the industries.

The continued reduction of the deliveries to Germany and other European countries may have   taken a turn for the worse since late 20222, as the EU, United Kingdom, UK, and the North American country of the United States , US, intervened in the war by supplying arms  and ammunition  to Ukraine, including financial support to sustain the war.  This may have encouraged the Russian government ‘’to completely halt gas supplies’’ to the western importing nations.

The Germany government may have seen it as a big challenge as it had no option but to look out for alternative sources of gas supply to the country   which include the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Nigeria, Qatar and the US.

The Value News findings shows that the three EU, member countries and the US, including Qatar and the North African country Algeria  which  had increased  their  gas export volumes  to Germany  could not  fill the gap left behind by Russia. T Nigeria, a major  gas producing nation, which currently supplies  25.7% of the Germany gas needs became a ready market as the Germany government had to initiate talks with the Nigerian    to increase the shipments  fill the vacuum, left by Russia. At present, Nigeria is Africa’s largest  proven ga reserves, estimated  to be  202  trillion   cubic feet  . The African largest gas producing nation, between 2022 and now,   has been keen  on entering  the European Union, EU, gas market toward helping  to meet their gas needs  after Russia sharply reduced  its natural gas supply  following its war with Ukraine.

 As a prelude to a planned visit to Nigeria, the Germany Chancellor and his Nigerian Counterpart, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, were said to have met at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Capital of India where they were said to have had a very rewarding discussion. ‘’I am happy to inform you of my desire to visit Nigeria in October 2023, to cement our business initiatives’’.

 The Germany Leader may have taken advantage of the  visit  to  the Sub- Sahara Africa,  described as  a ‘’potential exporter of hydrogen  energy  amid calls for energy transition in the EU, to visit Nigeria to continue the talks with Tinubu which they had started at  New elhi, India,  for going into ‘’investments for the future’’.

 On Sunday, October 29, 2023, the Germany Chancellor, who had embarked on a two-day visit to Nigeria , accompanied  by a delegation  of high ranking business people   including Chief Executive officers , CEOs,  of some  of the highest -valued  companies    from the country arrived with a mindset   to discuss with the Nigerian government.

President Tinubu And Scholz, German Chancellor Hold Talks

 Tinubu, the Nigerian President may have gotten the message right when the German Chancellor said ‘’the country is committed to joint initiatives with the Nigerian government when it comes to gas supply ‘’. The two Leaders were said to have  discussed  trade -related issues  and investment opportunities .   Germany-Nigeria trade volume is estimated to be about three billion euros annually.

Informed sources at the ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment confirmed that Nigeria had exported 1.9 euros of oil, to Germany. That much was also contained in the United Nations, UN, COMTRADE data base on international trade. The EU, member country, in turn was said to have exported to Nigeria. goods, including machineries and other economic components valued at 1.1 billion euros. 

 Following their discussions, Scholz, the Germany Chancellor was said to have made his Nigerian counterpart to understand that that the Germany government is driving forward ‘’future production and use because natural gas is the energy source of the future, and ‘’the country need a lot of it for power generation, household heating and industrial processes’’ . At present, over 30% of households  in the EU, uses gas to heat their homes

. The Germany Leader had said    that ‘’considerable demandfor natural gas, and ‘’concrete amounts ‘’ of supplies should be  agreed on in negotiations  between Nigerian gas producers  and Germany gas traders’’ .

  Horst Koehler, Angela Mrkel, and Christian Wulff, all former Chancellors’ of Germany had at one time or the other visited Nigeria which was said to have led to the signing   several agreements in the areas of gas supply,  trade and culture.  This may have informed why in 2019, Muhammadu Buhari, the immediate past Nigerian President had contracted the Germany energy company, Siemens to assist Nigeria  to generate at least 25,000 megawatts  of electricity  for the national  grid by 2025.

 Enough of the Germany and Nigeria trade -related talks. We turn to the  , EU, member country  working relationship  with the  Omar Alieu Touray, led Economic Community of West African States , ECOWAS, Commission.

  The ECOWAS Commission, President, may have gladdened the heart of the Germany Chancellor, when he disclosed that  the 81 million euros or $85.9 million   granted to the economic sub-region  would help ‘’to address the problem  of insecurity,  infrastructural  deficits particular, electricity supply   and climate change in the region. Touray had revealed thatthe latest grant of  81 million euros from Germany  brings to 500 million  euros, the total of the country’s financial  support to the west African subregion  for  over a decade.

Given an insider information on how the money would be used, the  ECOWAS Commission President had said  that ‘’there is plan   to link  the electricity supply  power generation  through Cotonou, Capital of Benin Republic  to allow  the 15 member- countries  to get  the electricity supply from a cheaper source from the economic bloc.

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