The Castor Project is a submarine natural gas storage facility in the east coast of Spain, in the municipality of Vinarós, able to contain 1,3 Billion cubic meters of gas. The plant facilities take the gas from the general gas grid for storage in the submarine underground. To do so, the gas is transferred via a gas pipeline approximately 30 km long, mostly running under the sea, which connects the Ignacio Pérez land plant to the offshore platform located 22 km offshore.
Despite being run by a private company, the project was put in motion by the government, as a way to cover 30 to 40 percent of Spain’s daily demand of natural gas for a period of up to 50 days. The objective is to cover peaks of consumption or interruptions to supply.
In theory, when the gas system required it, these facilities would be able to return gas from the storage in the same conditions as it was received through the same submarine gas pipeline.
The storage facilities used an old oil well, emptied from 1970s (in Amposta). The gas is injected 1750 m depth under the sea.
But the Castor project seems to have triggered worrying sysmic activity in the area. More than 300 earthquakes off the northern coast of Castellón have been recorded in few days of the late September 2013. The earthquakes have all been less than 4.2 degrees on the Richter scale, but have aroused concern in the population of the area (in Alcanar, Benicarló, Las Casas de Alcanar, Cervera del Maestre, Cálig, Peñíscola, San Carlos de la Rápita y Vinaroz).
Since February 2010, the Plataforma en Defensa de les Terres del Sénia denounced before the EC the Castor project because no Environmental Impact Assessment had been made to assess the environmental implications of the project.
Concerned has also raised due to 2 nuclear power stations located not very far from the earthquake epicentre.
The gas injection was halted from September 16th 2013 and the government is waiting before continuing with the gas injection.