The El Musel regasification plant will not be necessary in the coming decades

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Neither the El Musel regasification plant nor the rest of the gas infrastructure proposed for our country will be necessary in the coming decades, under any of the scenarios studied in a report recently published by the European Commission.

This is the conclusión of the “Follow-up study to the LNG and storage strategy” [1] published by the Directorate General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission. The study affirms that, under the scenarios which have been considered, the existing European infrastructure can satisfy the requirements of the gas system even under the most extreme conditions, given that usage is not forecast to increase in either Spain or Italy.

The document indicates that use of LNG terminals [2] in Europe is very diverse, but was generally low in 2016 (0 %-36 %), with Italian and Greek terminals showing the highest figures. As for future projections, a substantial increase is expected in usage from 2020 to 2025, with Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese terminals doubling their usage and Turkish terminals tripling it. Terminals in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom would also start to see usage increase if global LNG supply were to increase, and in this case only, the Dutch terminal would also see more significant usage (25 %) [3].

A scenario in which LNG supply was at a high level would also be beneficial to Turkish, Polish and Croatian LNG terminals. However, Spain, along with Greece, Portugal, Italy and Malta would not be implicated in this scenario, and so would continue with a LNG usage level of 20 % until 2020, or even less by 2025. Given that such scenarios do not include the El Musel regasification plant, putting the plant into operation is unjustified. Additionally, it would incur extra costs, increasing the “new tariff deficit” for gas.

With reference to the usage of subterranean storage facilities, although the document recognises the important part they play in offering seasonal flexibility to the European market, the study shows that their usage is decreasing over time (7 % in the EU28) despite current storage obligations in many countries. It also indicates that according to “the results of the models, an optimistic future is not forecast for these storage facilities”, given that there has been a general fall in their use. In the case of Spanish subterranean storage facilities, the projected fall is from 100 % at present to 89 % in 2025. This calls into question the necessity of new projects such as the Doñana natural gas storage facilities, even without considering their geological, social and environmental impacts.

In relation to gas pipeline projects on the Iberian Peninsula, none of the scenarios examined suggested good results. There was no scenario under which the third Portugal-Spain Interconnection Point had no flows, except the scenario EUCO30 [4], with a low global LNG supply, and with the France-Spain Interconnection (Midcat) seeing no flow by 2025 under the scenario of high LNG supply, and used only in the direction from France to Spain in January under the scenario of low LNG supply, and in the 7-day peak (should the “cash” LNG market not be available to Spain for one week).

Given all these considerations, Ecologists in Action of Asturias condemns the continued insistence on launching unnecessary projects, and also argues that the El Musel Regasification Plant is illegal. The development of this plant represents an attempt by the energy industry, aided by disastrous governmental energy policies, to obstruct the development of renewable energies, which have great potential to generate employment as well as promoting energy self-sufficiency.