Construction of an underwater gas pipeline connecting Barcelona and Marseille will probably not be completed before 2030 as it is still in a very preliminary phase, the French Energy Minister said on Friday.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País and other media outlets, Agnès Pannier-Runacher stated that the project, called BarMar, will take longer to build than the MidCat gas pipeline that crosses the Pyrenees and which it replaces.

“It will take more time, rather the timeframe is 2030,” she said, adding that the goal was “to be able to essentially transport hydrogen, rather than develop gas infrastructure that could later be converted to hydrogen.”

The joint project of Spain, Portugal and France will mainly serve to pump “green” hydrogen and other renewable gases into the European grid, at a time when the continent is facing an energy crisis marked by rising prices and the risk of gas supply shortages following the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Last week, the Spanish Minister of Energy, Teresa Ribera, said that the BarMar would take between four and five years to be operational.

However, Pannier-Runacher said that, although the delivery date in 2030 is one of the scenarios being considered, a more concrete calendar will be available once a working group presents its first analyzes at the next EuroMed- 9 of the southern European countries in December.

She added that one of the reasons for scrapping the MidCat project was that experts had said that building a pipeline and then converting it to hydrogen transport would not work.

“On the other hand, if it is initially conceived as an infrastructure for hydrogen, it will cost more, but it is possible.”

Categorized in: