France says it is ready to reassess its opposition to the MidCat project, a gas pipeline through the Pyrenees. As the energy crisis continues, the MidCat project is back in the spotlight. Spain is pushing to revive the project.
France ready to support MidCat?
Besides Spain, Portugal supports the project. Faced with opposition from France, Lisbon approached Italy to find an alternative to MidCat. However, the French opposition may not last.
Tiago Antunes, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, met with Laurence Boone, French Minister Delegate for Europe. Following this interview, he states:
“The reaction I got from [la France] was that she was willing to look at MidCat again with fresh eyes, an open mind, taking into account the arguments of Portugal, Spain and also Germany.”
A few weeks ago, Emmanuel Macron declared his opposition to MidCat. In his opinion, such a project is not necessary. He justifies himself by referring to the two gas pipelines linking the Iberian Peninsula to France. These are underutilized and the flows are mainly to Spain.
A project revived by the energy crisis
According to T. Antunes, the project has been revived by the energy crisis. Thus, the “geostrategic risks” resulting from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia strengthen the proposal of Spain, Portugal and Germany.
Following its meeting with Laurance Boone, Portugal hopes for a change in France’s position. T. Antunes comments:
“We hope that with a new evaluation of the project (by France), and taking into account the new circumstances, it will be concluded that it is worthwhile and should go ahead.”
Indeed, MidCat could prove important in the context of the energy crisis. It could more than double the volume of gas transported by pipeline between Spain and France. Launched in 2013, it was suspended in 2019 for reasons of economic but also environmental sustainability.
In addition, according to Portugal, MidCat could also transport renewable gases such as renewable hydrogen.