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France Prefers LNG Terminals To New Gas Pipeline

New LNG terminals in northern and eastern Europe would be a better option to alleviate the European gas crisis than a new natural gas pipeline from Spain to France, the French energy transition ministry said on Friday.

A new gas pipeline between Spain and France would take years to become operational and would cost at least $3.01 billion (3 billion euro), the French ministry said in a statement carried by Reuters.

As such, a pipeline could be too late to ease the gas crisis in Europe, France says.

“Such a project would take many years to become operational ... and would therefore not respond to the current crisis,” the ministry said.

Europe is bracing itself for a difficult winter of possible energy rationing amid low and uncertain pipeline supply from Russia.

Last week, Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said that another natural gas pipeline could soon become operational in Europe to connect Spain and France, and the new link could start operations in around nine months.

“This new interconnection, this gas pipeline could be operating in about 8 or 9 months on the southern border side, that is, from the Pyrenean to Spain,” Ribera said.

Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed the idea of a gas pipeline to connect Portugal, Spain, and central Europe via France and said he supported the new connection.   

Europe is working to wean itself off Russian gas amid growing tensions with Moscow and uncertain pipeline supply from Russia, which was slashed this summer. Apart from importing record volumes of LNG from the United States, European countries look to build more infrastructure to accommodate more gas imports from sources other than Russia.

Spain itself does not depend on gas from Russia, but it has six LNG import terminals and lies on the route of pipelines from North Africa to Europe. Spain, however, is not well connected via pipelines to other European countries, limiting European access to LNG imports.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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