“With the looming Ukrainian crisis, NATO is thinking about building a gas pipeline link between Spain and Germany in order to reduce Central Europe’s reliance on Russian gas,” La Vanguardia reported on Sunday.
According to government sources cited by the newspaper, a new trans-Pyrenees connection would be used to supply Algerian LNG/LPG to Central Europe. This would allow the Iberian Peninsula to become southern Europe’s distribution hub – a platform capable of storing and processing gas through seven regasification plants located in Spain and one in Portugal. 30% of Europe’s liquefied gas storage capacity is currently located in Spain.
“According to the newspaper, Germany is very interested in diversifying its sources of the raw material. The heavy reliance of Berlin (50 percent) and the whole of Central Europe on Russian gas is one of the main geostrategic weaknesses of the EU,” remarks La Vanguardia.
“NATO is currently looking into the launch of a new cross-border link between Spain and France to supply gas to Central Europe,” government sources in Madrid have confirmed. This means reconsidering the failed ‘Midcat’ Mediterranean gas corridor construction project to run a pipeline from Algeria to the Iberian Peninsula, and from then to France and Germany.
“Midcat could be back on track. Europe’s largest regasification plant in the port of Barcelona would be directly connected to this pipeline,” the newspaper wrote. This would be a revival of General de Gaulle’s historic idea in the 1950s to bring Algerian gas to factories in the Rhine basin.
The ‘Midcat’ initiative was put on hold three years ago by Spanish and French regulators, who felt that building the pipeline would not be cost-effective amid the substitution of natural gas by renewable energy sources. But now the European Commission wants natural gas and nuclear to be classified as green energy sources under the EU system.
At the end of June this year, a NATO summit will be held in Madrid to adopt a new strategic concept of the Alliance and discuss the issues of European energy security. According to the newspaper, the United States is trying to form a coalition of liquefied gas exporters to boost supplies to Europe.