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Third Spain-France gas link could be ready in 2 1/2 years - Enagas CEO

MADRID, May 25 (Reuters) - A third gas link between Spain and France could be completed in two and a half years at a cost of 600-700 million euros ($640.14-$746.83 million) if the process was accelerated, the chief executive of Spain’s gas grid operator said on Wednesday.

The European Union is racing to find ways to wean itself off Russian gas after the major energy exporter invaded Ukraine, bringing interconnection projects into focus.

In discussions of energy security, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has highlighted Spain’s large number of terminals that can receive and store liquid natural gas. But limited pipeline connections with the rest of Europe make it less clear how they could be utilized in the short term.

Enagas’s CEO Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri told reporters the connection, which was abandoned in 2019 after regulators decided it was not financially viable, could be completed at a cost of 600-700 million euros.

He said the estimate was based on a “conceptual study” and referred to the fact that gas transmission system operators act on the basis of decisions by their governments.

Enagas is one of a group of companies working to prepare Europe’s gas pipelines to carry low-carbon hydrogen.

Spain has said any new gas infrastructure with France would need to be supported financially by the European Union. ($1 = 0.9373 euros) (Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Inti Landauro, Robert Birsel)

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