The Minister of Economy and the Secretary of State for Energy are attending today to a fire training course for REN's employees and partners, which will be held at the Carriço Underground Storages, in the municipality of Pombal.
'Fire behavior and management of the protection corridors in energy transportation networks' is the title of the action, promoted by the Director of Operational Services of REN, Isabel Figueira, involving the areas of Quality, Environment and Security and Property and Right of Way, of the responsibility of Francisco Parada and João Gaspar, respectively. The scientific coordinator is prof. Domingos Xavier Viegas, director of the Center for Forest Fire Studies (CEIF), linked to the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) of the University of Coimbra.
REN has been working with CEIF for more than 10 years in the context of the policy of continuous training of employees and service providers in the area of forest fire prevention and control. The results of this company practice - involving other partners such as Firefighters and Civil Protection - were evident in the fires last October, when REN Armazenagem, combat teams were able to defend the facilities of the flames that consumed the surrounding forest.
During the last decade, REN has promoted the cleaning of 33 thousand hectares of bush and forest - equivalent to more than 33 thousand football pitches - among its patrimony and high voltage lines. Of this total, more than 20 thousand hectares have been cleared in the last four years.
In addition to participating in the training course against forest fires, Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral and Secretary of State Jorge Seguro Sanches will make a brief visit to the facilities of REN Armazenagem, which plays a key role in the country's strategic fuel reserves. The underground storage of the Carriço is an infrastructure currently composed of six storage cavities, built in a natural saline formation, and by a surface installation. High pressure natural gas is stored in gaseous form.
The underground caves are cylindrical shaped pockets, located between 1000 and 1400 meters deep. Each is between 200 and 300 meters high and 60 to 70 meters wide and can store 330 MNm3 of natural gas, which corresponds to about 20 days of the current total of internal average consumption and represents 57% of the existing storage capacity in Portugal. The remaining 43% capacity is at the Sines Terminal.