Putin dealt hammer blow as EU poised to replace Russian gas with new £11bn pipeline. Source: EXPRESS. Daily Briefing

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Putin dealt hammer blow as EU poised to replace Russian gas with new £11bn pipeline

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S plot to plunge Europe into a cold winter has been dealt a hammer blow as the European Union is looking to speed up the construction of a major gas pipeline.

By Antony Ashkenaz

10:15, Sun, Sep 11, 2022 | UPDATED: 10:15, Sun, Sep 11, 2022

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European Union leaders are reportedly looking to end delays on the Trans-Saharan pipeline, which flows across the great desert, from Nigeria into Spain and Italy. In late July, Algeria, Nigeria and Niger signed a memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline across the Sahara desert. First proposed in 2002, the pipeline never got off the ground but was finally revived as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced Europe to look for alternative gas suppliers.

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While officials and experts have warned of financial hurdles offering further delays, the EU is reportedly looking to push the plans through and get the pipeline flowing as soon as possible.

While signing the agreement, Algeria’s energy minister, Mohamed Arkab said: “This agreement marks the commitment of the three parties to revive a project of regional and international scope, which will boost the social and economic development of our country.”

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Abdelmadjid Attar, a former Algerian energy minister and ex-CEO of the Algerian oil and gas giant Sonatrach noted that currently, the pipeline is just an agreement underpinned by “strong political will”.

Meanwhile, an anonymous Algerian energy ministry official added that “discussions will carry on between experts from the three countries”.

Putin dealt hammer blow as EU poised to replace Russian gas with new £11bn pipeline

Putin dealt hammer blow as EU poised to replace Russian gas with new £11bn pipeline (Image: Getty)

Algeria, Niger and Nigeria signed an MoU for Saharan gas pipeline

Algeria, Niger and Nigeria signed an MoU for Saharan gas pipeline (Image: FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)

While signing the agreement, the minister did not fix a clear date of completion, but rather spoke of completing the ambitious 4,000km pipeline “within the shortest possible timescale”.

However, Mr Attar noted that if given the pressure, the pipeline completed within three years or less.

He said: “In the 90s we built the gas pipeline that links Algeria and Morocco in less than two years.”

The Trans-Saharan gas pipeline is could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe. However, experts warn that major financial issues need to be solved in order to make headway with the pipeline.

READ MORE: ‘We’ll freeze Europe’ Putin issues new threat

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