In the midst of Europe’s gas crisis, two Iberian countries become “energy islands”
According to the AP news agency (USA), amid the turmoil in the current world energy market, Spain and Portugal have emerged in a strategically advantageous position as the “energy islands” of the country. Europe, due to its relatively low dependence on Russian natural gas.
Spain and Portugal are leading in renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity. Currently, both countries are preparing to benefit from long-term investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG).
These two neighbors on the Iberian peninsula have six LNG plants in Spain – including Europe’s largest LNG plant in Barcelona – and an LNG plant in Portugal, accounting for a third of LNG processing capacity. of the whole of Europe. These plants are based on terminal infrastructure that is terminals that convert the supercooled LNG on board ships into natural gas, which then flows into homes and businesses.
This energy crisis also shows that, although the European Union (EU) is a common market of 27 countries, there are still major bottlenecks in the EU’s energy distribution system.
The lack of energy links between Spain, Portugal and the rest of Europe is the reason for the unprecedented change in EU policy recently. The EU has allowed Iberian nations to set up their own price controls to deal with rising energy costs across the continent.
The relative isolation of the two countries from the EU market creates what the government of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez calls an “energy island”.
Theoretically, LNG destined for Spain could be shipped to France, its eastern neighbor in greater demand, but getting there will not be easy.
According to data from Enagas – the company that operates Spain’s natural gas network, this country and France share two small gas pipelines that can transport LNG on seven ships each month. Meanwhile, Spain received gas from 27 ships at its ports in March, in addition to transporting natural gas through the Algerian gas pipeline.
According to the AP news agency, Madrid and Brussels are discussing restarting a plan to build a larger pipeline to bring gas and green hydrogen energy through the Pyrenees mountain range between France and the Iberian peninsula. But even if the plan receives funding, it will take years to start rolling out. France still needs to do more to get gas where it is really needed.
Enagas spokesman Claudio Rodrguez said that LNG receiving terminals in Spain could be used to transport LNG to other European ports in order to “Strengthening Europe’s gas and energy systems”.
However, experts also agree that, if the EU wants to be self-sufficient in energy, it must strengthen relationships within the bloc.
Gonzalo Escribeano, an energy and climate analyst at the Elcano Institute, a Spanish think tank, said: “Spain is part of the solution. For years, Spain has warned other member states about their dependence on Russia… (Now) wants to “turn off the valve” of Russia, But it’s not that simple.”
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