France, Spain and Portugal announced on Thursday, October 20, that they had reached an agreement to replace the MidCat project with an undersea pipeline between Barcelona and Marseille, intended to transport gas and then green hydrogen. Initially launched in 2003, the MidCat (short for Midi-Catalonia) project aimed to link the French and Spanish gas networks via a 190-kilometre pipeline from Hostalric, north of Barcelona, to Barbaira, east of Carcassonne, through the Pyrenees.
“We have agreed to replace the MidCat project with a new project, which will be called the Green Energy Corridor, to connect the Iberian Peninsula to France and therefore to the European energy market between Barcelona and Marseille”, explained the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, on his arrival in Brussels for a European summit devoted to the energy crisis. “It’s about creating a pipeline for green hydrogen but also temporarily for gas, which the European energy market needs. »
Limited economic interest
Pedro Sanchez, French President Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa are due to meet on December 8 and 9 in Alicante, Spain to finalize the agreement. Defended by Madrid and Lisbon but also by Berlin, which sees it as a way of reducing the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas, the MidCat was to allow Spain, which has 30% of European capacity regasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG), to export gas, coming by ship from the United States or Qatar, to the rest of Europe.
This project – abandoned in 2019 due to its environmental impact and an economic interest then deemed limited – was also intended to make it possible in the longer term to transport green hydrogen, the energy of the future produced thanks to renewable energies, including Spain wants to be one of the champions. The French President announced “the abandonment of the historic MidCat project (…) to promote a project that we will work on in the coming weeks in a very intense way as a threesome”.
“Being better connected to the rest of the continent”
“The objective is to work on the intensification of our electrical interconnections and the densification of these, and to work on a hydrogen and renewable energy interconnection between Barcelona and Marseille”, he specified.
“So the objective of being better connected to the rest of the continent via Spain and Portugal is thus raised, and then our objective, of continuing our climate and energy transition strategy, corresponds to this new project. », he continued, adding that the project should benefit from European funding.