This move is just another part of the effort to strengthen the energy situation in Europe. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in February, the European Union has been trying to get rid of natural gas from Russia as quickly as possible.
Speaking to Spanish state broadcaster TVE about the project, Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transformation Teresa Ribera said.
“This new link, this pipeline, could be operational in about eight to nine months on the southern side of the border, that is from the Pyrenees to Spain.”
Pipeline infrastructure is being discussed across Europe
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said a pipeline linking the Iberian Peninsula to Central Europe would now tangibly help ease gas supply tensions. The chancellor added that he had already held talks on the issue with leaders from Spain, Portugal, France and the European Commission (EC).
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa was quite critical of the German Chancellor’s words. He said that Scholz’s words “increase the pressure on the European institutions to unblock the situation once and for all”. He suggested that an alternative to an interconnection via France could be an undersea pipeline from Spain to Italy.
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Spain and Portugal have been pushing for a new pipeline for a long time. They have the capacity to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG), which can then be sent on to the rest of Europe. But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said the European Union must pay for the construction of the interconnector.
The pipeline network in Spain is operated by Enagás. Its chief executive, Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, recently said the entire gas pipeline project between France and Spain could be built in a longer time than the Spanish minister has now announced. He estimated that the pipeline would take two and a half years to build and cost between 600 and 700 million euros.