Spain will not cut gas consumption by 15 percent

MADRID – The European Commission has asked all EU countries to use 15% less gas between August 2022 and March 2023 as part of an emergency plan. This was announced by European Commissioner Franz Timmermans on Wednesday. For now, it is a request and an order that countries can comply with. However, if there are many countries that do not follow this, there may be an obligation. In any case, Spain does not agree with this move and does not want to reduce gas consumption for the time being.

A plan to reduce gas consumption by 15% sounds logical, but it is not for all countries and everyone. Not all EU countries rely on Russian gas. Germany and other northern European countries rely heavily on gas from Russia, while Spain and Portugal cannot easily survive without Russian gas.

Soon after the announcement, the Spanish Minister of Environmental Change, Teresa Ribera, also attributed the same. reported Spain rejects European Commission proposal The European plan does not take into account the special Spanish circumstances related to gas dependency. In addition, according to Teresa Ribera, although this has not happened in other EU countries, it is precisely Spain that has tried to reduce gas consumption in homes and businesses.

However, according to the minister, this does not mean that Spain will not show solidarity with its European counterparts by making existing infrastructure available. The European Commission expects uniformity among EU countries. The European plan assumes that countries with sufficient gas will step in if another country is at risk of a shortage. But since pipelines are not everywhere, it is not always possible to transport gas from one country to another. Pains from Spain to France is a good example of this, when the Spanish side was ready to use it, the third and largest was never completed on the French side.

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Spain is geographically positioned to have direct gas connections from Africa via pipeline and tankers. Additionally, Spain accounts for only one-third (35%) of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage capacity in the EU and the United Kingdom. After Spain (with a capacity of 3.31 million cubic meters), the United Kingdom has 22% of LNG storage capacity (2.09 million), followed by France (14% and 1.35 million), Belgium (6% and 0.56 million) and Italy (5% and 0.54 million). ).

Spain also has an extensive network of gas pipelines and reprocessing plants, giving the country one of the most complete distribution and distribution infrastructures in the European Union. Spain accounts for 27% of all renewable capacity in the EU and the United Kingdom (22%), France 17%, Belgium 8% and Italy 7%.


LNG carriers arrive at several ports in Spain, mainly with regasification plants in Barcelona, ​​Sagunto, Cartagena, Huelva, Mucardos and Bilbao. Gas delivery to the Canary Islands is carried out exclusively by tankers. There is a gas pipeline in the Balearic Islands that transports gas from the city of Dénia (Alicante) via the island of Ibiza to Mallorca.

The gas, carried by tanker in liquid state at 160 degrees below zero, is discharged in regasification plants above, and a process is used to raise the temperature to the gas state. .

In terms of gas pipelines, Spain has an extensive network that brings gas through three pipelines: the 1,400 km Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline that runs 540 km through Morocco (which is now closed); 750 km long Medgas gas pipeline coming directly from Algeria; and the Artère de L’Adour gas pipeline, which originates in France and carries mainly Russian gas to Spain.

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Annex EU

So a large amount of gas could be transported from Spain to the northern part of Europe, but currently there are only two pipelines connecting Spain to France and then to the rest of the EU. There is currently a pipeline through Larao (Navarra) and Irun (Guipuskova), which allows for the delivery of about 8 bcm (8,000 million cubic meters) of gas per year.

However, a third link called Midgate, entering France via Girona (Catalonia), has been under construction for over ten years. The midgate pipeline can deliver 9 bcm (9,000 million cubic meters) of gas, totaling 17 bcm. The MidCat project was agreed in 2013 but was shelved in 2019, France says, because it was unsatisfactory and too expensive. Now the midgate pipeline is being revived and this time it is more likely to be phased out.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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