MADRID (AP) — Leaders of France, Portugal and Spain said on Thursday they agreed to replace a proposed gas pipeline link between Iberia and France with a submarine “green energy corridor” that would eventually transport hydrogen.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the plan was to connect Iberia with France and the European energy market through a pipeline from Barcelona in Spain across the Mediterranean to Marseille in France. He said it could be used to temporarily transport natural gas before transporting hydrogen.
Sánchez made the announcement after the leaders of the three countries met in Brussels, where they are attending a European Union summit.
No timeline or cost estimate were announced.
On his arrival at the European Council headquarters, French President Emmanuel Macron said the plan aimed to open up the Iberian Peninsula by developing a “green energy corridor between Portugal-Spain and France, and through France the rest of the country.” from Europe”.
He said the three countries will work to step up their electrical interconnections. Macron said the project could also add electricity interconnections.
Spain and Portugal had pushed for the connection of the Midcat natural gas pipeline through the Pyrenees with the promise that it would be used for green hydrogen in the future. But France opposed that plan, saying it was too expensive, would take too long to build and was not the solution to Europe’s energy problems.
With the war in Ukraine, Spain and Portugal had hoped the Midcat gas links could be used to help EU countries struggling to wean the bloc from its reliance on Russian gas. The proposal was supported by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Spain’s Energy Minister Teresa Ribera tweeted on Thursday that “the Barcelona-Marseille green energy corridor agreement is a great decision that strengthens solidarity and commitment to renewable energy sources.”
Sanchez and Macron said the three leaders would meet again on December 8-9 in Alicante, Spain, to finalize the project, which will be entitled to European funding.
Associated Press reporters Samuel Petrequin in Brussels and Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal contributed to this story.