THE Balearic Minister for Energy, Josep Juan Cardona, and the President of Enagas, Antonio Llarden, visited the anti corrosion coating plant where the 25'000 stretches of steel pipe which will form the future Balearic gas pipe are being prepared. This plant is situated on the outskirts of Hellin, in Albacete. On a site of some 500'000 square metres the pipe is being treated with anti corrosive and anti rusting agents, as the 280 kilometres which run between Denia and Sant Antoni de Portmany and Sant Joan de Deu in Palma will be under the sea. Some 25'000 stretches of this pipe, each one 12 metres long and made in Italy, are stored in this plant, either having been treated or awaiting treatment. Once they are treated they will all be transferred to Denia, where they will be covered in concrete so that they will have sufficient weight to keep them at the bottom of the sea. Cardona and Llarden expressed their wish that October would see the start of the underwater installation of the pipe with the pieces being soldered together on a platform before being put under the water. This process should be finished, according to forecasts, by the summer of 2008, but the pipe will not be in operation until July 2009. A terrestrial stretch of the pipe has also to be constructed on the mainland, together with a pumping station in Denia, and tests have to be carried out. The stretches of pipe weigh between 2.5 and 5.5 tons. The total stretch which runs under the sea will weigh 100'000 tons. The covering on each stretch of the pipe is 3 millimetres minimum on the outside and a quarter of a millimetre on the inside. The concrete covering could vary between 4 and 8 centimetres. Each stretch of the pipe, which has a diameter of half a metre, will be marked and numbered.