|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
Midi-Catalonia Pipeline, or the MidCat Pipeline, is a cancelled natural gas pipeline in Europe.
The pipeline would have run from Catalonia, Spain, through France.
- Owners: Enagás, Teréga
- Proposed capacity: 7.5 billion cubic meters a year
- Proposed length: 920 km / 571.7 miles
- Cost: €3 billion (US$3.7 billion)
- Financing: €4.15 million grant from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility
- Status: Cancelled
- Start Year: 2022
The MidCat Pipeline was initially pitched as part of the broader EU effort to reduce the bloc's dependence on Russian energy imports by shipping more gas from the Iberian peninsula to the rest of Europe. The project was cut into two sections. The first part is called the South Transit East Pyrenees, or STEP, and is meant to continue the existing abandoned line into France for 120 km, at a cost of about €440 million. France would cover two-thirds of that. The goal was for construction to be completed by 2022. The more expensive second half of MidCat would follow, including reinforcing about 800 km of the gas network in France. The full project aims to add about 7.5 billion cubic meters of cross-border capacity, approximately doubling the amount of gas that can flow between the two countries.
The pipeline was cancelled in January of 2019 after being blocked by French regulators following a determination that the pipeline was not financially viable. The €3 billion project – which was prioritized for EU support by EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in the EU’s list of ‘Projects of Common Interest’ (PCI list), alongside 100 other gas projects – was last April found to be not financially viable under most scenarios, in an official cost-benefit study. Its cancellation throws into doubt the validity and legitimacy of the criteria used by the European Commission to prioritize similar gas projects on the PCI list. In 2015, the project was awarded a €4.15 million grant from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility for pre-construction studies as well as the public consultation for the implementation of the first phase of the project on the French side.
A December 2020 report by Corporate Europe Observatory and other European environment groups warned that the European gas industry's rush to develop and seek public funding for new hydrogen infrastructure is being used as an excuse to revive previously cancelled gas infrastructure projects such as the MidCat pipeline.
Articles and resources
- Climate incompatible France-Spain gas pipeline cancelled Friends of the Earth Europe, accessed January 2019
- Exclusive: Viability of French-Spain gas pipeline questioned - report, Reuters, Apr. 17, 2018
- [https://ec.europa.eu/inea/sites/inea/files/fiche_5.5-0048-fr-s-m-15_final.pdf Conceptual and FEED studies (French part of the Midcat project)], European Commission, accessed Dec. 14, 2020
- The Franco-Spanish ghost gas pipeline, Politico, accessed January 2019
- The hydrogen hype: Gas industry fairy tale or climate horror story?, Corporate Europe Observatory, Dec. 7, 2020