Spain Offers to Be Gas Transit Country, Save EU from Russia

Energy | June 17, 2014, Tuesday // 14:25|  views

Spain has also put forward proposals to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas supplies. Photo by BGNES

Europe could import African gas via Spain to reduce dependency on Russian resources, a Spanish expert believes.

"Spain's gas transportation system is well-developed. We could be a transit country for supplies to other European countries," Marta Margarit, spokesperson for the Association of Spanish Gas Companies, was quoted as saying by German radio Deutschlandfunk.

Margarit believes Europe would need that gas pipes be built to connect Spain and France in order to have deliveries from the Iberian Peninsula.

"The project has been launched from the Spanish side, but from the French side nothing has been done," she says.

She also argues the continent could thus protect itself from the aftermath of Moscow's dispute with Ukraine, as Spain does not import any Russian oil or gas.

Instead the country depends mostly on a pipeline linking it with Africa, but also on its six terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Around 53% of deliveries are currently secured via a pipeline from Algeria, according to estimates of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), cited by weekly Spanish-language El Imparcial.

The Middle East has a 11-percent share in Spain's gas imports, while Central and Northern Europe (especially Norway) and West Africa (mainly Nigeria) account for 15 and 11%, respectively.

Deutschlandfunk, however, also quotes Gonzalo Escribano, political expert at the Elcano Institute (a think-tank providing the government in Madrid with expertise on a number of issues), as saying Europe should not hold huge expectations of Spain as a EU salvation from Russian energy. In his view, to call the Spanish idea "a solution" would be exaggerated.

He believes only a combination of all proposals issued by EU member states could help Europe attain diversification.

Escribano reminds that many countries are trying to put forward their own vision, with Poland emphasizing on coal and shale gas, Greece deepening partnership with Israel and France boosting nuclear energy in its mix.

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Tags: Spain, gas, Russia, Norway, Nigeria, Algeria, France, pipeline, Association of Spanish Gas Companies, Ukraine, LNG


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