14th April 2024
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Spain, France and Portugal to push ahead with ‘BarMar’ hydrogen pipeline

Spain, France and Portugal on Friday unveiled details of their ambitious plan for an underwater pipeline to bring green hydrogen from the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, French President Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese premier Antonio Costa were set to formally sign off on the plans in the presence of European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on the sidelines of a regional EU summit in Alicante.

The leaders were meeting just before the start of the EuroMed 9 summit, at which they will be joined by six other southern European countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Slovenia.

The aim of the early meeting was to outline both a roadmap and timeline for completing the so-called H2Med project which they are hoping will be partially covered by European funds.

The pipeline project comes as Europe struggles to reduce its dependence on Russian energy following its February invasion of Ukraine.

Also known as BarMar for its planned route connecting Barcelona and Marseille, the submarine pipeline will carry green hydrogen, which is made from water via electrolysis in a process using renewable energy.

It will ultimately facilitate the EU’s transition to green energy, French and Spanish government officials say.

Energy ministers from all three countries were also be at the gathering in the city of Alicante to offer their outlook on ‘the feasibility of the infrastructure project, its funding and an initial timeline’ for its
construction.

Announced at an EU summit in October, the pipeline offers an alternative to the defunct 2003 MidCat pipeline project which would have carried gas across the Pyrenees from Spain to France. It was abandoned in 2019 over profitability issues and objections from Paris and environmentalists.

H2Med aims to boost the decarbonisation of European industry, giving it large-scale access to clean energy from Spain and Portugal which are hoping to become world leaders in green hydrogen thanks to their numerous wind and solar power farms.

Initially, the idea was for the pipeline to carry gas from the Iberian peninsula to central Europe, given Spain and Portugal’s huge capacity for turning liquefied natural gas (LNG) that arrives in tankers back into gas form.

But that idea has been dropped with the pipeline only slated to carry green hydrogen, in a move expected to free up European funding.

France said H2Med could come online in 2030 with Spain offering slightly earlier estimates, with the vast project carrying an estimated price tag of €2 billion

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