Macron is now not closing in on the construction of the gas pipeline to ensure supplies in the face of the crisis with Russia
France is showing more flexibility in discussing with Spain the long-term construction of the MidCat gas pipeline, three weeks after President Emmanuel Macron buried the project. While Macron continues to think that the MidCat is “not a short-term solution” to solve the problem of the energy crisis that Europe is currently experiencing as a result of the war in Ukraine, the president is no longer shutting down the idea of building this gas pipeline between the two countries, as it had now done.
The Franco-Spanish dialogue on the project “has never broken”, say sources from the Elysée Palace, the official residence of the President of the French Republic. Recent pressure from Spain, Portugal and Germany in favor of MidCat could have helped Macron reconsider his stance.
Paris is studying “from a technical point of view the relevance of this interconnection” in the long term, the same sources explained. They are analyzing how long it would take to build this infrastructure and whether France should ultimately support the project. From the Elysee, they insist that there are still “questions” about the MidCat project in the near term, as “it would not solve the supply problem between Spain and France in the coming weeks”.
Paris explains that the technical data it has from MidCat dates back to 2019 and acknowledges that since then the international and energy context has changed a lot after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Macron’s change of position comes on the eve of Friday’s celebration in Alicante of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit, a forum in which, in addition to Spain and France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia participate.
While MidCat is not initially on the summit’s agenda, Paris hopes that European leaders will address the energy crisis and the issue of gas and electricity networks in the EU “from the point of view of efficiency and European solidarity”.
Macron strongly rejected MidCat in early September. At the time, the French president was convinced that its construction was not necessary because the two existing gas pipelines are being used at 53% of their capacity. This rejection of MidCat caused inconvenience to the Spanish government. Madrid defends the need for this interconnection in order to better respond to the current and future energy needs of the European Union.
In this context, the gas price rose again yesterday due to the leakages found in the Nord Stream and especially due to the alleged sabotage that this damage would have caused to the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. The price rose another 10% and brought the cost price of the raw material to 210 euros/MWh.
This increase came after a 19% rally on Tuesday, pushing the price back above 200 euros after eight days. It thus reverses the trend continuing downward from the historic highs reached on August 26.
Despite these advances in the price of gas, the cost of electricity goes unnoticed thanks to the porting that renewable power plants (especially wind and solar) do today. The electricity price today drops by 2.2% to 132 euros/MWh due to the larger renewable contribution.
Source: La Verdad