REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais has finished the 1stphase of the 3rd interconnection to Spain (Zamora) of the pipeline that links Mangualde, Celorico and Guarda. This project, estimated at around 40 million euros, will provide natural gas immediately to inhabitants of the councils of Gouveia, Fornos de Algodres and Celorico da Beira and help secure Portugal's supply of the resource by closing the Monforte-Guarda and Cantanhede-Mangualde loop of pipelines.
The 2nd phase of the pipeline will connect the Portuguese network to the Spanish one through Zamora, reinforcing Portugal's integration in the trans-European gas network, which will bring benefits to the consumers.
Comprising approximately 76 kilometres of steel tubing, the pipeline goes through five councils, 23 parishes and the land of 943 proprietors, taking a deviation to avoid Serra da Estrela Nature Park.
The project is co-funded by the European Economic Community as part of the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) and involved around 270 employees and more than 500,000 working hours in total.
With connections also made to the REN natural gas underground storage plant in Carriço, in the region of Pombal, and to the REN liquefied natural gas terminal, in Sines, the Celorico-Zamora pipeline is another step towards making the Iberian Peninsula a gateway for natural gas into the European system.
Rui Cartaxo, REN CEO says, 'the 3rd interconnection to Spain is an important step in the creation of the Iberian natural gas market.'
Preserving the environment and biodiversity
In undertaking the project, and in line with its policy of environmental and social responsibility, the company carried out a set of actions and partnerships to preserve the environment and biodiversity.
Especially noteworthy was the planting of around 28,000 trees, including Iberian oaks, oaks and ash trees, in a 25-hectare area of the Serra da Estrela Nature Park, to offset the felling of native tree species that was necessary to construct the pipeline.
In order to specifically minimise the impact on endemic species, a 'Study on the distribution of the Narcissus Scaberulus' was carried out, which identified the location of the population clusters of this species in the project zone. In a subsequent phase direct measures were taken on the clusters affected by the construction work, which included gathering seeds for sowing at a later date and the transplanting of bulbs.
Data from the first assessment phase of this operation, gathered in March this year, showed it to be highly successful, with a success rate of over 80% for all the plantation zones and the presence of Narcissus Scaberulus shoots in all the areas sowed.
During the project, REN also organised monitoring actions for the birdlife, water resources and air quality. As such, the company monitored bird species in danger of extinction, especially during the nesting season, and carried out studies to evaluate and monitor the air quality and water quality in the zones that the pipeline crossed.