Joan Collins THE underground gas pipe, from its start at Sant Joan de Deu (near the airport) to the centre of Son Reus (rubbish incinerator off the Soller road), will pass close to seven populated districts Two of these, Coll d'en Rebassa and Son Ferriol, are in Palma; five are in Marratxi, Pla de na Tesa, Cas Capita, Pont d'Inca Nou, Son Ramonell and Es Garrovers. Altogether these districts have a population of 24'000 inhabitants. The pipe will also pass close to the Son Llatzer hospital. Endesa, as the installer and administrator of the terrestrial pipe (Enagas, of the Natural Gas Group, is the installer and administrator of the undersea part of the pipe) has already designed the route of the 16.5 kilometres of terrestrial pipe. Safety studies and reports done by the installers and the risk evaluation commissioned by the Balearic Ministry of Energy and a specialist company have concluded that starting the gas pipe in Sant Joan de Deu is safer than starting it at the Dic de l'Oest. Actually, the first alternative (Sant Joan de Deu) has been quantified as “20 times safer” than the second. There are two basic reasons as to why this will give a better level of safety. The first is that the line from Sant Joan de Deu, being 16.5 kilometres, is much shorter than the two possible routes from the Dic de l'Oest. These would have 30 kilometres of pipe because it has to go to the centres of Son Reus and Cas Tresorer to supply them with natural gas. The second reason is that from the Dic de l'Oest the pipe would have to pass more densely populated areas to get to Cas Tresorer. The studies also highlighted the fact that the route from Sant Joan de Deu would not affect any archeological sites, nor the fossil site of Es Carnatge, passing it at a distance of 65 metres. The risk analysis said that “the area of Sant Joan de Deu is an entry point for the line which has no shipping traffic and not much variation in the height between sea and land”. “The Dic de l'Oest, on the other hand, is a deep sea port area with a lot of shipping traffic which would mean that there would be terrible difficulties in bringing the pipe ashore at this point”.