France prefers gas terminals to a new gas pipeline to deal with the crisis

By Forrest Crellin and Isla Binnie

PARIS – A third gas pipeline between Spain and France would cost at least 3 billion euros ($3 billion) and take years to complete, making it a less attractive option to address Europe’s supply worries Europe that new terminals to receive fuel by ship, French ministry of energy transition said.

The European Union is bracing for any further declines in gas flows from Russia, which was the 27-nation bloc’s biggest supplier before it invaded neighbor Ukraine in February and trade fell. disturbed.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that building a gas pipeline from Portugal through Spain and France to central European states that are more dependent on Russian gas would “dramatically relieve the supply situation”. .

Spain is home to the largest fleet of European terminals capable of receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG) from countries such as the United States and Qatar, but has a limited ability to transmit it to other countries.

The French ministry said in a statement that new LNG floating terminals, in northern and eastern Europe, particularly in Germany, would be a faster and cheaper option than a new gas pipeline.

Discussions around new infrastructure have included the relaunch of a project to build a pipeline through the Pyrenees which was partially built before being abandoned in 2019.

Regulators on both sides of the border decided at the time that the project did not meet market needs. It faced local opposition from the Rhone Valley and environmental associations, the French ministry said, adding:

“Such a project would take many years to become operational… and therefore would not respond to the current crisis.”

Spanish officials have recently spoken more concretely about the project, stipulating that the European Union should pay. Gas network operator Enagas said the whole thing could be finished in two and a half years at a cost of 600 to 700 million euros.

Broader goals to reduce global-warming carbon emissions must also be taken into account, the French ministry said, noting that the use of hydrogen, which can be produced with renewable electricity, in is in its infancy.

Enagas and other European operators are working to prepare the continent’s infrastructure to transport hydrogen.

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