Spain’s Enagas has secured a key approval from the government to revive a liquefied natural gas import terminal on the Bay of Biscay that has been mothballed since its construction in 2013.

Located in Gijon on the Bay of Biscay, the El Musel regasification facility will be able to handle up to 8 billion cubic metres per annum of gas and is now due to start up early next year.

Late last week, the terminal received administrative authorisation from the Ministry for Ecological Transition (MET), following a favourable report from Spain’s National Commission on Markets & Competition (CNMC).

The approval process continues, with CNMC next set to decide on a special economic regime that has been created for the Gijon facility, as well as formal start-up requirements from the MET.

An environmental impact statement for the terminal in the Asturias Principality was rubber-stamped in May 2021, pre-dating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that triggered this year’s rapid move away from Russian gas in Europe.

A ceremony in Gijon to welcome the administrative authorisation was attended by Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Vice President and also Minister for Ecological Transitiones, Adrian Barbon, President of the Principality of Asturias, Gijon’s Mayor Ana Gonzalez, as well as Laureano Lourido, president of the Gijon Port Authority and Enagas chief executive Arturo Gonzalo.

Commenting on this latest approval, Gonzalo, said: “Once this process is completed, the plant could be operational within six to eight months”, added that “more than 100 LNG carriers a year could be unloaded and loaded at the Gijon terminal.”

According to Enagas, the El Musel facility will contribute to the security of supply in Europe by reducing dependence on Russian gas.

Enagas operates four Spanish LNG import terminals — at Barcelona, Huelva, Cartagena and Gijon — while also owning a 70% stake in a regasification plant in Bilbao and 72.5% interest in an LNG facility at Sagunto.

Enagas also owns and operates Spain’s natural gas transmission grid which, like the company's regasification facilities, has been been heavily under-used in the decades leading up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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