a pipeline between Barcelona and Marseille

Spain wants to play a central role in the production of green hydrogen (1) in Europe. After abandoning the MidCat gas pipeline project between France and Spain through the Pyrenees for political, financial and environmental reasons, H2Med, the future undersea pipeline between Barcelona and Marseille begins to take shape.

Following a meeting in Alicante, in the south-east of Spain, on Friday December 9 between Pedro Sanchez, Antonio Costa, heads of Spanish and Portuguese government, and Emmanuel Macron, the first outlines of this ambitious project are made public.

A 2.5 billion euro underwater tube

The main part of the project, also called “BarMar” (contraction of Barcelona-Marseille), consists of an underwater tube which should cost 2.5 billion euros and would transport 10% of the hydrogen consumption in the Union. European Union in 2030, i.e. the equivalent of two million tonnes. Portugal will also be linked by a hydrogen connection with Spain for an investment of 350 million euros.

These are currently estimates. “preliminaries”, assured Pedro Sanchez during statements alongside Emmanuel Macron, Antonio Costa and Ursula von der Leyen.

“Project of common interest”

The invitation of the President of the European Commission to the meeting, by the leaders of these three countries, is no coincidence. Spain, France and Portugal want to submit a file to the European Commission by December 15 to declare it a project of common interest (PIC).

If the objective is achieved by 2023, the European Union could finance up to 50% of the construction of this future submarine connection, which is not free from complexity: the route would reach 455 kilometers in length and 2,557 meters deepest. But to access European funding, this connection will only have to transport green hydrogen.

“One of the main energy hubs of the European Union”

“This H2Med project will be one of the main energy hubs in the European Union”said Ursula von der Leyen, before adding, “this is only the beginning, because this corridor will be able to unite the whole Mediterranean region”. For Emmanuel Macron, this is a “very coherent project” with the European objective to reduce fossil emissions and to achieve energy sovereignty.

“It is a vital infrastructure” for Europe, assured Pedro Sanchez, “which will bring greater security and strategic autonomy”.

“Spain wants to become a benchmark for hydrogen”

In the meantime, Spain is advancing its pawns to produce green hydrogen. Pedro Sanchez did not hide it on Friday: “Spain wants to be at the head of the race for energy transition… and to become a benchmark for hydrogen. » Latest project in Andalusia: the Spanish oil group Cepsa will invest three billion euros to install a green hydrogen production center and two billion euros for the construction of solar fields and wind turbines, necessary for the process of ‘electrolysis.

Madrid is also developing international agreements. At the beginning of November, the Danish maritime transport giant announced that it wanted to invest nearly ten billion euros to produce green methanol for its fleet by 2030. Two sites should be created in Andalusia and Galicia.

Beyond the economic spin-offs and the jobs created, these gigantic projects are a reminder of the Spanish government’s stated and assumed desire to become a major player in green policy and renewable energies. Long isolated in terms of energy due to its geographical position, Spain now manages, with the war in Ukraine, to assert its advantages: independence from Russian gas and 47% of electricity production provided by renewable energies. .


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