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The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP), expected to help Nigeria achieve zero gas flaring by 2020, is running behind schedule.

Nigeria signed a treaty with Niger and Algeria in 2009 to build the $12 billion pipeline, which should begin from Calabar and pass through Kano to the border, reports the Guardian.

The estimated length of the pipeline is about 4,400km, with over 1,037km in Nigeria, 853km in Niger, 2,310km in Algeria, and 220km connecting Algeria to Spain.

In 2013, the federal government approved a budget of $400 million for commencement.

However, some national and international companies that showed interest, including Total and Gazprom, grew cynical on security along the pipeline route.Read more: Nigeria: Damaged gas pipelines have been restored

A source known to the The Guardian said the delay in taking the final investment decision on Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Brass LNG and the Nigeria LNG Train 7 project hindered commitment by financiers.

"The investors are aware that Nigeria is currently facing the challenge of meeting its gas obligation to neighbouring African countries through the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company, due to insecurity in the Niger Delta.

"If we are unable to deliver gas to Ghana and Togo, how can we meet the demand for gas in Europe through the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline? Ghana has started looking elsewhere for its gas supply and this is not good for the country and investors in the pipeline project," the source said.

Project stagnant

It is reported that the chief infrastructure officer, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Adamu Umar, confirmed that the project is yet to move beyond the first stage.

Umar stated that the investors are consortiums of Nigerian and Chinese companies.

But an associate researcher at the Africa and Energy Programmes of the French Institute of International Relations, Benjamin Auge, is of the view that the project could remain a dream for much longer.

Auge said: "On analysis of all the elements of the route and the geopolitical realities, it appears that there are more reasons to believe that the pipeline will not be constructed in the near future."

"On topography, there would certainly be a few difficulties that would weigh down on the cost of the project. An example is the Hoggar Mountains. But this would not be impossible for specialised companies. A study of the solutions proposed by the developers confronted by this sort of obstacles should wait until a final choice is made on the route," Auge concluded.