Midcat gas pipeline in Catalunya, Spain

The Midcat is a gas pipeline that would link Spain and France with the goal of allowing an Algerian gas flow into Europe. The first phase of the project was carried out in 2012 under local resistance, and it is planned to be resumed in 2019.


The Midcat is a projected gas pipeline that would link the Spanish and the French natural gas systems through the regions of Catalonia and Midi Pyrénées. The first 87 km stretch of the gas pipeline (from Martorell to Hostalric) was carried out in 2012, but the project was then set in stand-by due to a lack of interest from the French government. The construction of the first part of the Midcat pipeline was highly controversial back in 2012 due to severe environmental and social impacts in the areas involved. Moreover, the company Enagas was accused of a lack of rigor when planning, executing and managing the project. Nowadays, there are plans of resuming the project in 2019, although there is still uncertainty about the exact date. A new movement of resistance in the province of Girona is mobilizing to oppose the 2nd phase of the project.

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Basic Data
NameMidcat gas pipeline in Catalunya, Spain
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesNatural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe project consists on: 191 km of new pipeline on the Spanish side of which 87 km were already constructed in 2011-12, 148 km of new pipeline on the French side, 328 km of loops in existing pipelines on the Spanish side, two new compression stations with a total power of 46 MW, and the enlargement of two existing compression stations in 30 MW (European Commission, 2016). The project would dramatically rise the cross-border natural gas transmission capacity between Spain and France that is currently set in 170 GWh/d SP>FR and 165 GWh/d FR>SP to 400 GWh/d SP>FR and 245 GWh/d FR>SP. The Midcat was included in the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list in 2015 as part of the priority corridor called “Bidirectional Flows between Portugal, Spain, France and Germany”, and its commissioning is planned for 2022.

According to the French Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie (CRE) the total cost of the Midcat project will be 3360M€, of which 2000M€ will correspond to the French side. The gas pipeline will be partly financed by the European Union. Public funding will account for 470M€, of which 170M€ correspond to the Spanish side and the rest to the French side. Even if the public financing is notoriously significant, it is a private project that has been assigned amongst a Spanish company, Enagas, and two French companies, GRTGaz and TIGF.
Level of Investment (in USD)3,600,000,000.00
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/11/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesEnagas from Spain - Promoter, in charge of building the Spanish part
Total Infrastructure Gaz France (TIGF) from France - Promoter, in charge of partially building the French part
GRTgaz from France - Promoter, partially in charge of the French part
Relevant government actorsSpanish government

French government

Portuguese government
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Commission (EC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersODG - www.odg.cat

ADENC - http://adenc.cat/

ANG - http://www.naturalistesgirona.org/

IAEDEN - http://iaeden.cat/

XSE - http://xse.cat/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Participation to Toxic tours (Volt), to show participants from many other parts of Catalunya and Spain the lands that would be crossed by the pipeline[1]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of AlternativesThe opposition to the project during the first phase back in 2012 started as a reaction when the construction began. They focused, thus, in minimizing the impacts and supervising the construction process.

Currently, though, an opposition is being organized in the Girona province with the support of some of the organizations involved in the reaction to the 1st phase. The proposal is clear this time: the Midcat gas pipeline should not be built. Instead, they advocate for a change in the energetic model based on energy sovereignty:

Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The first phase of the project was already carried out in 2012 causing local impacts. Thus, to a certain extent an environmental injustice has already occurred.

Nevertheless, if completion of the project could be avoided it would be a great success, given that we would avoid: local impacts in Northern Catalunya and Southern France, displaced local impacts in the extraction fields of Algeria, and global impacts related to the current energetic model (climate change, ...).

UPDATE JAN 2019: The Midcat pipeline and its French component have been blocked by French and Spanish energy regulators on grounds of lack of necessity and high cost. The decision marks the possible end of the entire ‘MidCat’ endeavour, leaving stranded other sections of the pipeline that are already built. [2-3]
Sources and Materials

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Blog created by people involved in the struggle of the 1st phase of the project with valuable information about the construction process, pictures, and local media reactions.
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La Vanguardia - Ecologistas alertan del impacto del gasoducto MidCat
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La Fissura - Arriba el MidCat

Les entitats ecologistes alerten de l’impacte que pot tenir el gasoducte a les comarques gironines

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[1] Volt II: una ruta crítica con los macroproyectos energéticos
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[2] Naturalistes Girona.

23 de gener 2019

La Plataforma Resposta al Midcat celebra la victòria contra aquest innecessari i costós gasoducte
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[3] FoEE - 22 JANUARY 2019

Red card to EU-backed ‘MidCat’ is major victory for campaigners
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Media Links

Video shot by the organizations involved in the struggle of the 1st phase. Images of the construction site.
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Other Documents

Foto grupal de los participantes del Volt2 (2015) Fuente: http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/Volt-II-critica-macroproyectos-energeticos_0_439906279.html
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Demonstration in Catalonia Source: http://www.foeeurope.org/Climate-incompatible-France-Spain-gas-pipeline-cancelled-220119
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Meta Information
ContributorSergio Ruiz Cayuela and Kevin Buckland with support of the ODG (www.odg.cat). [email protected]
Last update24/01/2019