Construction of an undersea gas pipeline connecting Barcelona and Marseille is unlikely to be completed before 2030 as it is still at a very preliminary stage, France’s energy minister said on Friday.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País and other media, Agnès Pannier-Runacher said that the project, called BarMar, will take longer to build than the MidCat gas pipeline that crosses the Pyrenees and replaces.
“It will require more time, rather the deadline points to 2030,” he said, adding that the goal was “to be in a position to essentially transport hydrogen, rather than developing a gas infrastructure that could later be converted to hydrogen.”
The joint project of Spain, Portugal and France will mainly serve to pump “green” hydrogen and other renewable gases into the European grid, at a time when the continent is facing an energy crisis marked by rising prices and the risk of gas supply shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Last week, Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said it would take four to five years for the BarMar to be operational.
However, Pannier-Runacher said that while the delivery date in 2030 is one of the scenarios being considered, a more concrete timetable will be available once a working group presents its first analyses at the next EuroMed-9 summit of southern European countries in December.
He added that one of the reasons for scrapping the MidCat project was that experts had said building a pipeline and then converting it to hydrogen transport would not work.
“On the other hand, if it is initially conceived as an infrastructure for hydrogen, it will cost more expensive, but it is possible.”