October 28, 2022 [Reuters] – Construction of a planned underwater gas pipeline connecting Barcelona and Marseille will likely not be completed before 2030 as it is still in a very preliminary stage, France’s Energy Minister said on Friday.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais and other media, Agnes Pannier-Runacher said the project, dubbed BarMar, would take longer to build than the scrapped cross-Pyrenees MidCat pipeline it replaces.
“The timeline is rather 2030,” she said, adding the goal was to “be in a position to transport primarily hydrogen, rather than developing a natural gas infrastructure that could later be converted to hydrogen.”
The joint project between Spain, Portugal and France will mainly be used to pump “green” hydrogen and other renewable gases into the European grid, as the continent faces an energy crisis marked by soaring prices and the risk of gas supply shortages after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early this year.
Last week, Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said BarMar would take about four to five years to become operational.
But Pannier-Runacher said that, while a 2030 delivery date was one of the scenarios being discussed, a more concrete timeframe would be available once a working group presented its first analyses at the upcoming EuroMed-9 summit of southern European countries in December.
She added that one of the reasons for discarding the MidCat project was that experts had said building a gas pipeline and later converting it to transport hydrogen would not work.
“However, if it is initially conceived as a hydrogen infrastructure, it will be more expensive, but it is possible.”
Reporting by David Latona
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