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Castor Project Gas off-shore storage in Vinaròs, Spain


Description:

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.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Castor Project Gas off-shore storage in Vinaròs, Spain
Country:Spain
State or province:Castellón
Location of conflict:Vinaròs
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other
Specific commodities:Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Castor UGS project utilised the depleted Amposta oil reservoir. This offshore geological structure is 5 kilometres long, 2.5 kilometres wide and up to 250 metres thick, providing an estimated total of 1.9 billion cubic metres (67 billion cubic feet) of storage capacity. The underground reservoir’s size and porosity provided estimated storage volume equivalent to 14 liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation tankers.

Castor’s forecast delivery rated of 25 million cubic metres (883 million cubic feet) per day. It was thought it would contribute strategic storage and reliability of supply to industrial and domestic customers, and would compensate for a potential future supply shortfall equal to the capacity of the Maghreb pipeline or one regasification plant for over 50 days. Castor’s anticipated working gas storage capacity of 1.3 billion cubic metres (45.9 billion cubic feet) would provide a sizeable reserve for seasonal and peak demands.

Level of Investment:2,700,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:400000
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Castor Limited Partnership from Canada
Dundee Energy Limited from Canada
Grupo ACS (ACS) from Spain
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Industry, Vinarós Town council, Amposta Town Council, Benicàssim Town Council, European Comission
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma en Defensa de les Terres del Sénia, Ecologistas en acción

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other Environmental impactssysmic activity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Halt completely the project
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The halt of the Castor project was due to the high sysmic activity that was registered in the area. Although since then, the opposition has intensified to demand a final stop of the activity.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Resolución de 4 de marzo de 2011, de la Dirección General de Política Energética y Minas, por la que se otorga a Enagás, Sociedad Anónima, autorización administrativa, aprobación del proyecto de ejecución y reconocimiento, en concreto, de utilidad pública
http://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2011-5573

el Real Decreto 949/2001, de 3 de agosto, por el que se regula el acceso de terceros a las instalaciones gasistas y se establece un sistema económico integrado en el sector del gas natural:
https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2001-17027

Ley 12/2007, de 2 de julio, por la que se modifica la Ley 34/1998, de 7 de octubre, del Sector de Hidrocarburos, con el fin de adaptarla a lo dispuesto en la Directiva 2003/55/CE del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo, de 26 de junio de 2003, sobre normas c
http://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2007-12869

Orden del Ministerio de Industria de 18 de noviembre de 1974, por la que se aprueba el Reglamento de Redes y Acometidas de Combustibles Gaseosos, modificada por Órdenes del Ministerio de Industria y Energía de 26 de octubre de 1983, de 6 de julio de 1984, 9 de marzo de 1994 y de 29 de mayo de 1998.

Real Decreto 1434/2002, de 27 de diciembre, por el que se regulan las actividades de transporte, distribución, comercialización, suministro y procedimientos de autorización de instalaciones de gas natural:
https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2002-25421

Ley 30/1992, de 26 de noviembre, de Régimen Jurídico de las Administraciones Públicas y del Procedimiento Administrativo Común, modificada por la Ley 4/1999, de 13 de enero; la Ley 13/2003, de 23 de mayo, reguladora del contrato de concesión de obras públ
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2006/09/27/pdfs/B10458-10458.pdf

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Mini-video of one protest: Human chain aganist the Castor project:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFDcx_gTfUY

Video documentary: Informe semanal projecto Castor (Spanish public TV 12-10-2013):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIzwxFJrJSw

TV news. Demo against the Castor project 2007:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wmgEjR9QK4

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

newspaper article: Ecologistas en Acción denuncia el peligro por el escape de gas en Castor:
http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/10/14/catalunya/1381768896_864311.html

newspaper article: El Gobierno validó Castor en 2007:
http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2013/10/07/actualidad/1381181311_736995.html

newspaper article: Un millar de personas exige el cierre definitivo de Castor en Vinaròs:
http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/10/09/valencia/1381343975_307434.html

Web plataforma en defensa de les terres del Sènia with lots of information:
http://plataformapelsenia.blogspot.com.es/

Meta information

Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update03/05/2014