Spain says EU should help fund any energy interconnector with France

2 minute read

The terminal of Spanish gas grid operator Enagas ENAG.MC is seen at the port of Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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MADRID, March 8 (Reuters) - Spain's large gas capacity could be used to support the rest of Europe's energy needs as long as the cost of new connecting infrastructure was shared between countries, Spain's Energy and Environment Minister said on Tuesday.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has stoked fears that the energy imports Europe depends on to fuel its economy and households could be disrupted, and prompted the European Union to examine alternative sources.

One option is boosting imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by ship. Spain has the continent's largest fleet of the terminals needed to unload frozen LNG and convert it back to gas, but limited pipelines to take that on to other countries.

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"It makes sense that this large capacity we have can improve our neighbours' security of supply," Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera told a news conference.

Currently there is only one gas pipeline between Spain and France. Any new interconnector would take five or six years to build, Ribera said.

"It would have to be financed as a project of European interest, to guarantee security of supply for our northern European neighbours, and not by Spanish gas consumers," she said.

"We couldn't see this as something immediate, because the infrastructure doesn't exist, but it is important to invest in resilient energy policy."

Spain's companies already pay for the country's gas terminals as part of their power bills, Ribera said.

Any new facilities would also need to be built with an eye to a future in which lower-emissions gases such as biomethane or green hydrogen would be combined with natural gas, she added.

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Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Isla Binnie; Editing by Alex Richardson

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