THE gas pipe which will bring natural gas to the Balearics will reach Majorca in July 2009, but will not reach Minorca for four years, according to Balearic minister of commerce, industry and energy, Josep Juan Cardona.

He was speaking at the signing of an agreement with the Natural Gas Foundation, to promote the multiple applications of natural gas.
He explained that the gas pipe will run for 65 kilometres on land from the factory in Montesa (Valencia) and Denia (Alicante). From there, it will cover 117 kilometres underwater to Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza and another 144 kilometres to Sant Joan de Deu on the outskirts of Palma. “There has been a two year delay for purely bureaucratic reasons,” Cardona admitted, adding that “Gesa Endesa (the power company) has already adapted its power stations so that it can receive the natural gas as soon as the pipes are laid.” The minister went on to say “first of all the natural gas will go to the power stations, then to the urban areas and finally to satisfy any other demand.” The minister also admitted that the initial cost of laying the pipeline has soared to 490 million euros, nearly double the original, because of the delay.

But, he pointed out, “the original prevision was only an estimate, pending a more precise definition.” He also said that major modifications had been made to the first stretch underwater and the pipe will be laid at a greater depth than originally calculated. “What is important,” he went on,” is that in just two years, the pipeline will break the energy isolation of the Balearics.” Cardona said that the pipeline will not only connect the Balearics with the Peninsula, but it will draw the islands into the European energy network.
The gas pipe, he said, will ensure supplies to the Balearics for a long time to come, as “it is designed to be able to supply double the amount of natural gas which the islands will need over the next few years.” Cardona also said that using natural gas to generate electricity will reduce the emmission of greenhouse effect gases by 1.5 million tons a year. Energy in the Balearics, he said, is derived 63.3 per cent from oil, 33.2 per cent from coal and only 3.4 per cent from other renewable energies.

But, he said, in the last three years, the use of solar energy has been multiplied sevenfold in the Balearics, and he predicted that the use of renewable energies could triple by the year 2015.

The signing of the agreement took place on the eve of the Foundation's first seminar in the Balearics, to promote the technological, economic, social and environmental advantages of the use of natural gas.