Macron assures that new gas interconnections with Spain are not necessary

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The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, affirmed this Monday that new gas interconnections with Spain are not necessary because the current ones are far from saturation, and added that the MidCat gas pipeline project will not be justified for energy and environmental reasons.

Macron, during a press conference on energy, explained that the two gas pipelines that currently link the two countries, through the Basque Country and Navarra, are “underutilized”, since they have been used at 53% since February. He added that in August it was France that exported gas to Spain and not the other way around.

“I don’t understand the short-term problem that it is trying to solve. If we were at 100% utilization, I would say the opposite,” he said.

Instead, he was in favor of “developing electrical connections with Spain” for the export to Europe of energy produced from renewable sources, he said after a conversation with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about the energy situation in Europe.

In addition, he warned that in France “there is a lot of environmental opposition, which is not without foundation,” which would complicate carrying out the project.

Regarding the Spanish proposal that the gas pipeline be built to be able to transport green hydrogen in the future, he pointed out that the experts consider that “strong investments” would be needed to adapt the infrastructure for that purpose.

“Some even tell me that it would be absurd to transport hydrogen from Spain to France or Germany,” he stressed. What would make the most sense -she clarified- is to export renewable electricity from Spain to France or to other European countries so that it would be there where that electricity would be transformed into hydrogen.

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“I am not convinced that more gas interconnections are needed,” Macron summed up his position, stressing that this conclusion is based on “facts,” not “politics.”

“We want to develop all the interconnections that make sense,” he stressed.

That was his explanation in response to a question about whether France considers the MidCat gas pipeline project to be definitively buried, which in recent weeks Germany, Portugal and especially Spain have tried to revive, with the idea of ​​becoming a platform for exporting gas to the rest. of Europe thanks to its regasification terminals.

However, he stressed that France “is a cooperative country” and that “if there are facts that correct what I say now, I will change my position.” He noted that in today’s video conference when he discussed this issue with the German chancellor, “Scholz has not given me any different facts.”

The MidCat, with which the construction of a new interconnection between Spain and France through Catalonia was planned, had already been shelved in 2019 due to lack of profitability.

For Paris, not only would it be very expensive (more than 3,000 million euros), but its implementation would take years and would not allow it to face the current energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. In addition, it is hardly justifiable now that the European Union intends to do without hydrocarbons in the medium term to bet on renewables.

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