Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday pleaded for the construction of a gas pipeline linking the Iberian Peninsula to central Europe through France, which could help reduce dependence on Russian gas.
The project for a gas pipeline crossing the Pyrenees “is something that the Spanish government has been asking for and asking of Europe for a long time”, the socialist leader told the press during a visit to the island of La Palma, in the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands.
“We hope that this dream will soon become a reality”, he continued, welcoming the remarks made last week by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who considered that an interconnection between the Iberian Peninsula and Central Europe via France was “dramatically” lacking in Europe.
Such a gas pipeline “would greatly contribute today to relieving and relaxing the supply situation,” said the German chancellor, whose country is one of the EU members most dependent on imports of Russian gas.
Mr. Sánchez agreed, saying that “Spain has a lot to offer Europe to reduce its energy dependence on Russia thanks to our immense regasification capacity”, pointing out that “a third of Europe’s total regasification capacity is in Spain”.
He referred to the fact that Spain has six terminals for processing liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported by LNG carriers in order to retransform it into gas which can then be injected into the Spanish gas network for possible export.
But at the same time, Spain has only two low capacity connections with France at the height of the Basque country (north-west of the country).
“We are exporting energy and we are going to do it even more when we improve the interconnections,” added Sánchez.
A gas pipeline project between Catalonia (northeastern Spain) and southeastern France, called MidCat, was launched in 2013, but was abandoned in 2019 for various reasons, including financial ones.
Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said last week that Enagas, the owner and manager of Spain’s gas network, estimated that it would take “approximately eight to nine months” for such a gas pipeline to be operational. Spanish, but also stressed that everything depended on the French side.
The French Ministry of Energy Transition had welcomed these remarks without enthusiasm, recalling that “such a project would in any case take many years to be operational” and “would therefore not respond to the current crisis”.