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    EU Awards $1bn of Infrastructure Grants


The EU has agreed to make €873mn ($1.08bn) of grants to significant energy infrastructure projects and studies, including ones relating to LNG imports to Cyprus and Croatia, plus pipelines in the Mediterranean.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Middle East, Political, Ministries, Infrastructure, Pipelines, East Med, News By Country, EU, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Poland, Spain, Turkmenistan

EU Awards $1bn of Infrastructure Grants

European Union member states have agreed to a commission proposal to dish out €873mn ($1.08bn) of grants to significant energy infrastructure projects and studies, the commission said January 25. A number relate to enabling LNG imports into Cyprus and Croatia, and developing pipelines in the Mediterranean and Baltic seas.

The biggest gas-related grant is €101.25mn to the Cypriot energy ministry for works to the ‘CyprusGas2EU’ project, which includes a planned floating LNG import terminal (FSRU) and related onshore pipelines on Cyprus. The project's aim is to develop a gas economy on the island, ahead of the possible development of its offshore gas reserves and their export via an 'East Med' pipeline. 

Significant grants are being made towards two studies, with €34.5mn to the IGI Poseidon venture into the possible ‘East Med’ subsea pipeline from offshore Cyprus to the Greek island of Crete, and €33mn to Polish gas grid Gaz-System for preparatory work on the planned Poland-Denmark gas interconnector that is part of the BalticPipe project.

Small grants toward studies include €3.7mn for Malta’s energy ministry for a study on an eventual subsea pipe connecting the island to Italy, €1.7mn for Spain’s Enagas relating to the MidCat project, and €1.9mn to ‘W-Stream Caspian Pipeline Co’ for a study on connecting Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and thence (via Turkey) to the EU – something that may face Iranian and Russian resistance.

Also €16.4mn will be granted to work by Croatian gas grid operator Plinacro on improving its network, ahead of the possible start-up 2020-21 of the LNG Croatia import terminal that has yet to take FID.

In total, the grants approved will support 17 electricity and gas projects (for full details, click here) and come from the EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The EU's energy union commissioner Maros Sefcovic said: "These are important projects with major cross-border benefits and by implementing them we strengthen energy resilience of EU member states." A total of €5bn was allocated to trans-European infrastructure for the period 2014-2020, some now disbursed, but with more awards to come. The biggest single grant, of €578.5mn, in these latest awards is split between REE and GTE, respectively the Spanish and French power grid operators, will go to construction of a new Bay of Biscay electricity interconnector linking the two countries’ Basque regions. The French government said January 25 that the grant would go towards the overall  €1.75bn cost of the new 370km subsea power infrastructure project linking Gatica in Spain to Cubnezais in France, which is scheduled to enter service in 2025 and will almost double the transmission capacity between the two countries from a maximum of 2800 MW today to 5000 MW then, ending in the government's words "the energy isolation of the Iberian peninsula from the rest of the EU energy single market" and provide an opportunity for surplus renewable power produced in Spain and Portugal to be sold elsewhere.